Uriah Hall stepped up on short notice to replace the injured Michael Bisping against Robert Whittaker tonight at UFC 193, which took place tonight (Sat., Nov. 14, 2015) inside Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
It was a bold move for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 runner-up, who was making his fifth appearance inside the Octagon this calendar year against a very dangerous opponent. But, he bit off more than he could chew tonight, dropping a hard-fought unanimous decision to TUF: "Smashes" winner.
Whittaker got the action started with a front kick and then bull-rushed Hall back into the cage. Hall reset as Whittaker uncorked a huge right hand that clearly did damage. Hall checked his nose, backed up and began to beat back Whittaker with a variety of leg kicks.
Hall did a little spin move, but nothing came out of it. He tried another one seconds later and ended up on his back with Whittaker dropping elbows from side control. Whittaker was able to land a nice punch to a grounded Hall as he dove into guard after getting kicked out. Whittaker actually secured full mount for a brief moment, but Hall was able to buck him off instantly.
With one minute remaining in the opening frame, Hall attempted to get back to his feet but Whittaker grabbed his throat from behind and sunk in hooks. Hall was able to reverse position, but the bell blared before he could get anything going.
Whittaker came out for round two much like he did round one: Swinging! Hall countered with two flying knees that missed their marks. Hall missed with a right hand and Whittaker was all over him as the pair ended up tangled along the cage. On the break, Whittaker landed another nice shot and then an inadvertent eye poke lead to a brief stoppage.
Hall came out of the break angry, even though replays showed there was no foul committed. Whittaker didn't back down, though, battling back with equally hard strikes. Hall continued to push the pace, looking for an opening to land something special, but he had to settle for a traditional high kick.
Whittaker continued to keep him off balance for the final minute, landing a nice straight left with seconds remaining in the round.
Third and final round and it appeared to be Whittaker's fight to lose. Well aware, Hall came out looking to end it early, but Whittaker blasted him with several shots -- including a huge right hand -- that had Hall ducking for cover along the fence. Hall eventually spun around, but he was wincing in pain over Whittaker's shoulder. On the break, Whittaker landed a powerful short elbow, but Hall kept on coming, landing a nice punch then a flying knee as the pair tied up along the cage.
Hall continued to score with front- and head-kicks as Whittaker responded with thundering left hands. Whittaker landed a nice right, which appeared to ignite a fire in hall. It quickly faded, though, as Whittaker once again took his back along the cage and dragged him to the canvass as the final horn sounded.
It was a fun, action-packed fight, with Whittaker able to frustrate Hall for a majority of the match and ultimately inflict more damage. Hall was game -- and had flashes of brilliance -- but Whittaker was just too crafty, too tough, earning a very well-deserved unanimous decision victory.
That's now three straight Middleweight wins for Whittaker, who is also only just 24 years old. His future looks bright.