Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight veterans Uriah Hall and Chris Weidman will rematch this weekend (Sat., April 24, 2021) at UFC 261 inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
For those unaware, these two first fought on the regional scene in Sept. 2010, and Weidman won via knockout. Quite a bit has happened since then, with Weidman experiencing one of the all-time great rises-and-falls. The wrestler captured and defended the UFC 185-pound title as an undefeated star, but once he lost the crown, the losses really piled up. Hall, meanwhile, floundered in the middle of the division for far longer than most expected given his clear talent. Fortunately, “Prime Time” seems to have found his groove lately, stringing together a three-fight win streak and climbing fairly high in the rankings.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 75), Anderson Silva (UFC Vegas 12), Krzystztof Jotko (UFC Fight Night 116), Antonio Carlos Junior (UFC Fight Night 158), Thiago Santos (UFC 175)
Key Losses: Paulo Costa (UFC 226), Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 99), Derek Brunson (UFC Fight Night 94), Robert Whittaker (UFC 193)
Keys To Victory: Fighters do not come much flashier nor more violent than Hall. He’s stopped 12 of his past foes via knockout, and if nothing else, Hall has proven that he’s always a threat to stop his foe with a single shot.
It’s almost absurd that a man with Hall’s talent and technical ability has a 16-9 professional record. He is immensely gifted, but it seems that it took a coach like Sayif Saud and team like Fortis MMA to really bring the best out of Hall.
Hall has to establish the jab here. It’s his best weapon, and the man has a 79.5 inch reach. Weidman has lost a fair amount of speed in recent years, so if Hall is sticking him with the jab consistently from the first bell, there’s a fair chance he’s able to line something serious up as Weidman tries to crash forward.
Otherwise, Hall’s mentality is the most important thing — he has to keep trying! Weidman is still quite good in the first half of fights, and there’s a real chance that he’s able to take down and/or beat up Hall early. However, Weidman slows badly, and there will definitely be opportunities for Hall to rally ... if he’s willing to go for them.
Key Wins: Anderson Silva (UFC 168, UFC 162), Kelvin Gastelum (UFC on FOX 25), Lyoto Machida (UFC 175), Vitor Belfort (UFC 187), Omari Akhmedov (UFC Vegas 6)
Key Losses: Luke Rockhold (UFC 194), Yoel Romero (UFC 205), Ronaldo Souza (UFC 230), Dominick Reyes (UFC on ESPN 6)
Keys to Victory: There are moments of greatness even in Weidman’s recent struggles. At his best, Weidman can box quite well, wrestle at an elite level, and his submission prowess has never been in question. The issue is his gas tank. Indeed, when Weidman gets tired, the situation deteriorates ... quickly.
In the first bout, Weidman walked his foe into the fence, looked for takedowns, then knocked him out when Hall tried to circle away with his hands low. Oddly enough, the same strategy really applies here, particularly since a first-round finish is the best way to avoid fatiguing late.
Still, while a knockout would be nice, Weidman doesn’t really want to trade shots with “Prime Time.” The second he sees an opportunity to duck into the high-crotch, he should take it. Even with his decline in mind, Weidman’s takedown chaining from that position is masterful.
If Weidman can get on top early, it sets the tone, and he may even be able to land a submission.
I’m just thankful I don’t have to officially predict this one.
At 36 years of age, it’s really now or never for Hall. Many of the same issues that historically cost him victories are still apparent in his game, but he’s seemingly grown far stronger on the mental side of fighting. Perhaps that’s enough for him to finally complete a title run — it is difficult to deny that appeal of a Hall vs. “Stylebender” striking showdown.
That fight isn’t on the line just yet, but a win puts him within a big fight or two from the title.
As for Weidman, he’s back at Middleweight and ranked again! A return to the title seems profoundly unlikely given his string of brutal losses, but hey, Weidman has still shown all the skill in the world. If he can fix his gas tank/defensive issues, perhaps there is hope yet for a second “All-American” title run. And a win over Hall would certainly help.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 261 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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At UFC 261, Uriah Hall and Chris Weidman will square off. Which man will earn the victory?