In a battle between flashy middleweight strikers, Uriah Hall took on Thiago Santos at UFC 175 on Saturday.
Hall became an overnight star with his savage knockouts on The Ultimate Fighter Season 17. He had some serious hiccups when he lost in the finals to Kelvin Gastelum and followed that up with a loss to John Howard; his days seemed numbered.
He turned things around by beating Chris Leben into retirement and now finds himself on the first UFC winning streak of his career with a unanimous-decision win over Santos.
So what did we learn from this fight?
Uriah Hall Is All Kinds of Gutsy
Early on in the fight, or possibly before it, Uriah Hall broke his toe. Naturally, Twitter was all over it:
Uriah Hall’s foot ladies and gentlemen. pic.twitter.com/MEWktaWFV6— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) July 6, 2014
Either way, he didn't even seem to notice that his foot was all kinds of messed up and proceeded to dance, kick and bust moves all over the joint. Hall didn't quite look like a world-beater this fight, but the fact he wasn't crying on the floor about the injury, as most people would, speaks volumes about his toughness.
Thiago Santos Has No Business Being in a Pay-Per-View Main Card
Santos did his part this fight. "His part," of course, was to get slapped around by Hall.
The UFC seems to be committed to getting Hall some wins, and Santos, like Leben, was a fighter tailor-made for Hall to beat. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. The UFC has been feeding and grooming fighters whom it wants to succeed since the very beginning.
The trouble here, though, is that while Hall and Santos were duking it out on the main card, pound-for-pound great Urijah Faber was buried down on the preliminary card. That doesn't feel right...
Uriah Hall Has Some Solid Mic Skills
As if Hall gutting out a snapped toe wasn't inspirational enough, when Joe Rogan put the mic in his face, he cut a really solid, Lyoto Machida-style "chase your dreams" speech.
The jury is still out on how high Hall's ceiling is career-wise. There's no doubt, however, that his drawing potential is limitless.
Uriah Hall Could End up in the Top 10
Now, is Hall going to rank particularly highly in the B/R MMA 125? No, not for a while yet. With the way the middleweight division has shaken out, however, the door might be open for him to start climbing up the rankings and even enter the top 10.
Obviously, he came up short in the finals of TUF 17 in large part due to his inability to handle Gastelum's wrestling. However, Mark Munoz is on the tail end of his career, Chael Sonnen's return to middleweight isn't happening anytime soon, Yushin Okami is crushing cans in WSOF, and Tim Boetsch is on his way out.
There are only a few fighters at 185 pounds who have a serious wrestling pedigree these days. As we've seen time and again, outstriking Hall is a tough thing to do.