Although his hype train may not be as populated as Conor McGregor's, middleweight banger Uriah Hall has still had to deal with plenty of increased expectations thanks to his unreal run through the Ultimate Fighter house, even if it has since tapered off a bit. His opponent at tonight's (Sat., Aug. 17, 2013) UFC Fight Night 26: "Shogun vs. Sonnen" event at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass., John Howard, was making his return to the Octagon after some time away.
So, everyone was hoping to impress.
They started on the floor, as Hall earned a quick takedown and worked from top. And by quick, I mean it took less than three seconds. Howard got back to his feet and landed a punch or two, but that just led Hall to clinch up with him, pushing him against the fence.
This received loud boos from the birds in Boston.
Through one round, Hall's flashy kicks and knees weren't landing and his grinding clinch attack wasn't going anywhere either. It was still a relatively even round, though.
The second round saw the two exchanging more kicks, though they were testing blows more than fight finishers. Howard was the clear aggressor, for whatever that's worth, pushing Hall up against the cage and working for takedowns.
He finally found one with 45 seconds remaining in the frame. This after a close battle for the previous four minutes. The kind of last ditch offense that so often makes all the difference.
Hall went back to his clinch game in the third, so much so that the referee separated the two about halfway through and asked for more action. He got it in the form of a hard knee from Uriah but Howard used it to latch onto a leg and earn a takedown.
Before the round was up, Hall grabbed a takedown of his own, but did nothing with it. The crowd popped for the final 20 seconds, but the fighters didn't respond with increased action in the cage, save for Hall throwing an insane rolling kick and Howard jumping down with a huge punch to the top of the head.
It was close enough for curiosity. The judges scores came in at 30-27, 28-29, and 29-28 for Howard.
Too bad neither of the two were all that impressive.
For complete UFC Fight Night 26 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.