Uriah Hall showed what a mixed martial arts (MMA) talent he is with an incredible tear through his stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17, mixing potent strikes with a well-rounded overall game. H
is opponent tonight (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) at UFC Fight Night 26, John Howard, meanwhile, could be considered a bit of a technically limited overachiever type who has his work cut out for him because Hall is much bigger and a better grappler and striker to boot. Howard demonstrated a ton of heart in defeats against mid-echelon Welterweight competitors.
He'll need a ton of it to deter Hall, who figures to come out banging to make a statement after his disappointing split decision loss in TUF 17 Finale to Kelvin Gastelum (a fight that really could've gone either way).
Hall's size and ability to close the distance are a nice combination, allowing him to get off first and dictate where the striking occurs. In the Gastelum bout, Kelvin's persistence and ability to constantly press the action -- particularly in grappling exchanges -- was a big factor in wearing down Hall just enough to erode his technique and tilt it more toward a brawl-style affair.
Howard pretty much has to do that. However, being short-limbed and giving away nearly a half-foot in height means getting in close means paying a price, something Hall's great at. Hall's an excellent striker who puts big-time power on his shots, which means that Howard figures to get nailed early.
It's hard to see this one going to the ground in Howard's favor, either, because Hall's a good counter-wrestler and a better takedown guy in addition to his natural size advantage.
Hall wins this one easily, picking apart the game, but limited, Howard with strikes on the feet, battering him into senseless as the referee intervenes midway through the second.
Hall via technical knockout
Remember, too, that MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 26 card this weekend, starting with the Facebook "Prelims," which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised under card bouts at 6 p.m. ET and then the main card action, which is slated to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst