Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has finally returned to Las Vegas, Nevada, after spending five weeks on “Fight Island.” The first event — in what will be a total of 12 to close out 2020 — will be UFC Vegas 12, which goes down later tonight (Sat., Oct. 31, 2020) inside UFC APEX, featuring a Middleweight bout between former division champion Anderson Silva and No. 10 ranked contender Uriah Hall. In the co-main event, Andre Fili takes on Bryce Mitchell in Featherweight action.
Silva had been adamant leading up to his fight against Hall that it would be the last fight of his long and storied career. Recently, however, he has backtracked, leaving the door open to continue by saying that depending on the result this evening, he could continue on. After all, he does have one fight remaining on his deal. But, by the sound of it, it seems as if “Spider” is more in a hurry to get out of the promotion to compete elsewhere. That’s because he also stated that if he didn’t continue fighting for UFC, he’d definitely be fighting somewhere else. He’s always wanted to box Roy Jones Jr., and once he’s free and clear from his UFC contract he can do whatever his heart desires. And these days, with so many promotions around it seems plenty of fighters are open to new ventures, and it shouldn’t be hard for Silva to find work. His name alone will demand a big payday, even if his last few years inside the eight-walled cage have been less than stellar.
Silva and Hall were set to fight in 2016 before an emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder forced the Brazilian bomber out of the fight. Since 2013, Silva has been a shell of his former self, and his fall from the top is absolutely unexplainable. Prior to getting knocked out by Chris Weidman at UFC 162, Silva was on a 17-fight win streak, won the UFC Middleweight title, defended it a whopping 10 times and even moved up to Light Heavyweight a few times to clown on a couple of heavy hitters. Since his win over Stephan Bonnar in 2012, “Spider” has gone a paltry 1-6-1, with his lone win coming against Derek Brunson. I mean, that’s just hard to believe from the man many considered to be the pound-for-pound G.O.A.T at one time.
A win for Silva is a must, but is it crucial if he is thinking about retiring anyway? He does score an extra $200K with a win, but perhaps more important, he still wants to go out on top or, at the very least, get some leverage when he starts looking to sign with another promotion.
It won’t come easy, however.
Hall has won two in a row and three of four overall, so he’s really picked up the pace after a few less-than-dazzling years inside the Octagon, which includes three straight losses to Derek Brunson, Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya. He’s shown vast improvement over the last year or so, and he really wants a big win over a man he looked up to coming up the ranks. Granted, this isn’t the same Anderson Silva we saw wreck shop years prior, but the name is still somewhat valuable. This will be a stand up battle and I highly doubt either man will shoot in for a takedown. While Hall may be younger and a step quicker, don’t sleep on Silva, as his striking technique is still nice and it won’t be good news for “Prime Time” if he connects.
I can’t complain too much here since it’s a decent card and well-balanced. The only problem for the promotion is that it is going up against the highly-anticipated boxing championship fight between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz, so that could take away a few live viewers.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Wellington Turman was set to face Sean Strickland, but was unable to proceed his training because he was quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. Jack Marshman then proceeded to step in and fill his spot. Also, Makhmud Muradov was forced out of his fight against Kevin Holland for undisclosed reasons. Holland will now face UFC rookie Charlie Ontiveros. Cortney Casey was looking to get back on the winning track against Priscila Cachoeira in women’s Flyweight action, but the fight was scratched after Cachoeira “slipped and fell her head on the bath tub,” forcing her out of the fight.
Raulian Paiva pulled out of his fight against Amir Albazi with a knee injury. As a result, Albazai was booked to face Zhalgas Zhumagulov, though that fight will happen next month. Krzysztof Jotko suffered a broken toe and was forced out of his fight against Makhmud Muradov. Kevin Holland then agreed to take the fight against Muradov on short notice. That fight was eventually scrapped and as mentioned before, Holland will welcome Charlie Ontiveros to the Octagon. Aaron Phillips was also forced out with an injury and was replaced by Victor Rodriguez to face Adrian Yanez.
How The “Prelims” Look:
There’s nothing to get overly-excited about. Chris Gruetzemacher and Alexander Hernandez will headline the undercard in a Lightweight bout. Gruetzemacher got back in the win column in his last outing, brutalizing Joe Lauzon (recap) after suffering back-to-back defeats at the hands of Davi Ramos and Chas Skelly. Hernandez, meanwhile, was knocked out by Drew Dober in his previous outing (relive it here), dropping to 1-2 in his last three.
Light Heavyweight contender Dustin Jacoby is on the hunt for his third straight win, but this will be his first inside the Octagon as his first two fights back in 2011-2012 saw him come up short against Clifford Starks and Chris Camozzi. But after bouncing around from promotion to promotion, Jacoby earned his way back to the big show via the “Contender Series,” defeating Ty Flores. In his way is long-time UFC veteran Justin Ledet, who is in serious need of a win after dropping three in a row.
Sean Strickland has been fighting for the promotion for six years now, and he has yet to break through after 10 fights inside the Octagon. That being said, his three losses have come against some of the best in the game, with two of those defeats coming to Kamaru Usman and Santiago Ponzinibbio. Still, it’s surreal to see the vast difference in surges when you compare him to someone like Khamzat Chimaev, who garnered more shine with the promotion after one week than Strickland had in six years. But that’s the way the ball rolls sometimes, in all facets of life. He will be facing Jack Marshman, who is just 2-4 over his last six fights.
Miles Johns suffered the first loss of his pro career in his previous fight against Mario Bautista at UFC 247, so you know he’s hungry for a win. He will be taking on Kevin Natividad, who will finally be able to make his UFC debut after his first attempt was stalled due to COVID-19.
Ontiveros got the late call up to face Holland just two days before fight night. “The American Bad Boy” is a on a two-fight win streak under the Fury Fighting Championship banner, though he’s been pretty inconsistent throughout his career, racking up an 11-6 record. Nevertheless, he can start off on the right foot with the promotion by taking out Holland, who is on an impressive three-fight win streak.
Victor Rodriguez and Adrian Yanez are two newcomers who somehow wound up fighting one another unexpectedly after a serious of injuries caused some serious reshuffling of the card. Rodriguez started off his career with two straight losses, but he really turned it around to earn four consecutive knockout wins. Yanez, meanwhile, has also won four straight and earned his way into the promotion by defeating Brady Huang on “Contender Series” via first round knockout in just 39 seconds. This one could surprise everyone.
To get a more detailed breakdown of all those match ups click here.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Just Ledet has dropped his last three fights inside the Octagon with his last win coming way back in 2017. Unfortunately for “El Blanco,” he doesn’t have the name recognition or resume that will make UFC matchmakers think twice about cutting him should he come up short against Dustin Jacoby. He needs a win bad here, or at least an amazing performance in defeat to possibly avoid the dreaded pink slip.
Interest Level: 6.5 out of 10
Silva hasn’t exactly looked like a world beater as of late, but the fact remains he is still one of the best to ever do it, and you definitely don’t want to miss his possible final fight, so that in itself is worth tuning in for. The co-main event will feature a Featherweight bout between Andre Fili and Bryce Mitchell. Though Mitchell first got his name out there after a gruesome accident nearly tore his testicles in half, “Thug Nasty” has really been shining inside the Octagon, winning four straight to keep his record mint at 13-0. He will be facing perhaps his stiffest test to date in Fili, who has 15 UFC fights under his belt. He was last seen edging out Charles Jourdain via split decision, so he is in search of a more convincing win to get back on the radar.
If you can believe it, Greg Hardy will return for his seventh fight inside the Octagon to face Maurice Greene. Hardy made his debut in 2019 and, while he initially stole all of the headlines (not for the reasons he wanted), his shine has somewhat fizzled. Sure, you know he’s there but he hasn’t really done much to stand out and get people talking, though he is coming off a win over Yorgan de Castro at UFC 249. In Greene, he will face an equally powerful monster who has shown to have knockout power. This will be a nice notch on either man’s belt if they can score a win.
Bobby Green has been on a roll as of late, winning three straight against Clay Guida, Lando Vannata and most recently taking out Alan Patrick this past September. While some fighters have been taking it easy during the COVID-19 pandemic, “King” has been staying busy as this will be his fourth fight in five months. All that is doing is raising his stock, and it will get a bigger bump if he can earn his fourth straight win against Thiago Moises. Thiago is coming off a big win over Michael Johnson. The Brazilian bomber executed a slick submission over “The Menace” this past May (see it again here) getting him back in the win column after coming up short against Damir Ismagulov. This is my sleeper pick to win “Fight of the Night” honors.
Full Fight Card:
UFC Fight Night Main Event:
185 lbs.: Anderson Silva vs. Uriah Hall
UFC Fight Night Main Card on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Bryce Mitchell
185 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. Charlie Ontiveros
265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Greg Hardy
155 lbs.: Bobby Green vs. Thiago Moises
UFC Fight Night Main Card on ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Alexander Hernandez
135 lbs.: Adrian Yanez vs. Victor Rodriguez
185 lbs.: Sean Strickland vs. Jack Marshman
170 lbs.: Cole Williams vs. Jason Witt
205 lbs.: Dustin Jacoby vs. Justin Ledet
Cortney Casey vs. Priscila Cachoeira CANCELED!
135 lbs.: Miles Johns vs. Kevin Natividad
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
For more upcoming UFC events click here.