The UFC is all set to return to Las Vegas and the UFC APEX facility this weekend, and on Halloween night, we’ve got a major showdown in the Middleweight division.
Legendary former UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva faces off with Uriah Hall in the main event of UFC Vegas 12. At the same time, Featherweights Andre Fili and Bryce Mitchell do battle in the semi-main event.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Vegas 12: Hall vs. Silva.
Also, listen to the Cage Theory podcast for more on the recently concluded UFC 254 and for a look ahead to the UFC Vegas 12: Hall vs Silva card!
#1 UFC Middleweight Division: Uriah Hall vs. Anderson Silva
Rewind seven years, and this would’ve been an absolute dream match. Back then, of course, Silva was the reigning UFC Middleweight champion and had held the title since October 2006. He’d made a then-record 10 successful title defenses, had put together a record of 16-0 in the UFC, and looked generally unstoppable.
Hall, meanwhile, began 2013 as a cast member on the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. After taking out Adam Cella with a hook kick in one of the scariest knockouts in UFC history, Prime Time quickly developed the kind of reputation usually reserved for fighters like Silva himself. Two more wins put him into the finals, where it seemed he’d win comfortably.
However, the wheels came off for both men not long after. Hall was defeated by Kelvin Gastelum in the finals, and then lost a dull decision to John Howard in his second UFC outing. Meanwhile, Chris Weidman knocked out Silva, ending his title reign and shattering his mystique for good.
Today, things are very different for both men. Silva is now 45 years old and hasn’t won a fight since February 2017, where he was handed a lucky decision victory over Derek Brunson. Take that away, and you’ve got to go back to his pre-Weidman days to find a clean win for him. He’s already stated that win or lose, this will be his final fight.
Hall, meanwhile, has never quite lived up to the hype he garnered in 2013, but he’s done okay for himself. Prime Time is now 8-7 in the UFC, and the majority of his losses have come against top fighters like Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa. And every now and then, he’s shown flashes of brilliance – most notably his spinning kick knockout of Gegard Mousasi back in 2015.
Essentially, this should be an easily winnable fight for Hall. He’s no spring chicken himself at 36 years old, but he’s still largely in his athletic prime, and he’s still one of the tougher fighters in the UFC’s Middleweight division. On the other hand, Silva has basically lost everything that made him great, which at 45, is probably understandable.
During his legendary UFC title reign, The Spider was able to succeed for a few major reasons. Probably the biggest were the fact that he had the best reflexes we’d seen at that time in the sport. That made him capable of countering strikes and landing shots that other fighters simply weren’t able to do.
Those reflexes – coupled with a strong chin – also meant that he had little to fear from his opponents in return. However, largely since around 2016, Silva’s old reflexes appear to be gone. He still moves relatively quickly, but he can’t dodge strikes like he once did, and more to the point, he can no longer absorb damage in the same way he did in his prime.
Basically, then, every opponent he’s faced since the start of 2016 has been able to hurt him at some point, even if he’s only been finished by Weidman and, more recently, by a leg kick from Jared Cannonier.
Silva still uses his old style that sees him throw a ton of fakes and feints in order to draw an opponent in. But these days, it’s less to set up his own shots and more to throw a foe off their own gameplan hopefully.
Hall then certainly has the speed, power, and striking ability to take Silva out in this fight. He’s probably not as powerful as Cannonier, but he hits as hard as most of the top Middleweights in the UFC, and that should be enough for him to knock out the diminished former champ.
However, the thing that makes this fight a bit more interesting is Hall’s own tendency to fall into a heavy counter-based style. We’ve seen Prime Time throw a few fights away by simply not being aggressive enough, and if he comes out and shows Silva a little too much respect, we might end up with a fight that resembles the Brazilian’s 2019 clash with Israel Adesanya.
Hall isn’t quite as good as Adesanya, of course, and so that means that Silva might have a genuine chance of pulling a win out of the bag, albeit in a dull fight. Personally, though, I can’t see it happening.
Even the Cannonier fight took place well over a year ago, and Silva’s faced so many issues since then that it’s hard to imagine him rolling back the years. Sure, he’ll be desperate to go out with a win, but that may well open him up to making a mistake.
MMA is unfortunately one of those sports that doesn’t lend itself well to aging athletes pulling off big results, and we’ve seen countless UFC legends fall to younger, fresher fighters over the years. In his prime, Silva would likely have taken Hall out with no issues whatsoever.
In late 2020 though? This is no time for romance, and so I suspect Hall will knock Silva out in the opening round, putting a sad end to the career of one of the UFC’s all-time greats.