Uriah Hall was the center of the hype for the Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale went. From Dana White spending the lead-up to the start of the TV season talking about a fighter who was repeatedly sending his foes in the house to the hospital to his living up to the hype with a brilliant spinning hook kick KO to the opening bell of his fight with Kelvin Gastelum this past Saturday night.
Unfortunately, at that point the hype crumbled as Hall spent much of the fight trying to be too cute, leaning against the cage with his hands down, Anderson Silva style, and not being effective enough to take the decision on two of the three judges' scorecards and picking up a split decision loss.
"I was trying to have some fun, man," he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the fight. "A big part of it was it was it was kind of hard, too. I trained with the guy, and I like him. It was kind of that emotion I was trying to get rid of, so it was kind of weird.
"Going in the ring, I was like, 'S---, here we go again.' That side just kind of got the best of me, but there's no excuse. Kelvin's a great guy. He's a tough kid. I think he's going to go really far in this sport, and I'm happy for him."
I tweeted it several times during the fight, but Hall was dominating the fight when he stayed at range. When he was moving, he was able to land almost at will and Gastelum was having a lot of trouble getting in with any shots of his own. But then he'd move to the cage and lean against it and Gastelum had zero movement to worry about and was able to close distance and grab on to him.
I still saw Hall as winning 29-28 on my scorecard -- which is meaningless -- but he has no one to blame but himself. It was clear from the fight that Gastelum wasn't quite on his level and had Hall just kept using movement he likely would have dominated in the fashion most expected.