Saturday night might be the last time fans see Anderson Silva in a UFC Octagon.
The 45-year-old squares off against Uriah Hall in a middleweight main event that has The Spider looking for his first win since February 2017. He has just one official win since beating Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 in October 2012.
Silva told ESPN's Ariel Helwani this is "probably" his last fight with the organization but has been non-committal about fighting elsewhere.
The ESPN+ card also features an intriguing featherweight bout. Andre Fili and Bryce Mitchell are both on the outside looking in on the top 10 in the division. A win for either would get them a step closer to taking on some of the bigger names.
Greg Hardy also makes an appearance. The former NFL star is 3-2 with one No Contest in his run with the UFC. If he can get past Maurice Greene, it will be just the second time he has put together back-to-back wins.
Main Card (ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET)
- Uriah Hall (-230, bet $100 to win $43.48) vs. Anderson Silva (+185, bet $100 to win $185)
- Andre Fili (+120) vs. Bryce Mitchell (-150)
- Kevin Holland (N/A) vs. Charlie Ontiveros (N/A)
- Maurice Greene (+250) vs. Greg Hardy (-335)
- Bobby Green (-335) vs. Thiago Moises (+245)
Prelims (ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET)
- Chris Gruetzemacher (+300) vs. Alexander Hernandez (-400)
- Adrian Yanez (-455) vs. Victor Rodriguez (+300)
- Sean Strickland (-360) vs. Jack Marshman (+270)
- Cole Williams (+120) vs. Jason Witt (-150)
- Dustin Jacoby (-335) vs. Justin Ledet (+245)
- Miles Johns (-175) vs. Kevin Natividad (+135)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Hall Brings Violent End to Silva's UFC Run
Some fighters age gracefully. Daniel Cormier was a threat to win the heavyweight and light heavyweight title until the day he hung up his gloves. Khabib Nurmagomedov's recent retirement is the perfect example of a man leaving at the peak of his powers.
Anderson Silva is in neither of those categories.
The man who struck fear in the heart of almost every middleweight contender for the better part of a decade no longer carries the mystique, precision accuracy and cerebral greatness that always made him so dangerous. Instead, he's a decent-to-good counter-striker.
He is often too tentative to win fights on scorecards or put opponents in enough danger to get the finish.
Hall can be equally frustrating to watch. He was once a tantalizing prospect for his ability to create highlight-reel knockouts, but he can be guilty of being too tentative as well. At times it seems like he's waiting for the perfect shot, but there are entire fights where it never materializes.
As long as Hall comes out semi-aggressive, there isn't a lot of reason to believe Silva will be able to counter it. He has been out of commission for over a year after suffering an injury from a leg kick against Jared Cannonier.
Prediction: Hall via second-round TKO
Fili Halts Mitchell's Momentum in Tactical Performance
Bryce Mitchell is the trendy pick here. The slight favorite has the odds in his favor based on his undefeated record, which includes four wins under the UFC banner.
But this is his first real test against a veteran with proven tools. Andre Fili has been inconsistent throughout his UFC run, but he does have 15 fights with the promotion and has seen some serious talent in that time span.
Mitchell has cultivated a reputation for being a strong submission artist. Almost all of his wins previous to the UFC came by submission and he is one of two fighters to win a UFC fight by Twister. A quick glance at Fili's record shows that he has three submission losses, and some would rush to pick Mitchell to tap Fili.
That doesn't paint the whole picture, though. Fili has grown as a fighter over his time in the UFC. None of those submission losses have come since 2015, and his Fight IQ is improving.
There have been times in his career when he would shoot for takedowns when he was clearly winning the striking battle. However, his win over Myles Jury showed he may have overcome that deficiency. He didn't land a single takedown yet outscored him on the feet over the course of the fight.
Mitchell thrives when the fight hits the mat, but his striking doesn't jump off the paper. If Fili can fight a smart fight, he could stifle Mitchell's takedowns well enough to frustrate him in a kickboxing match.
Prediction: Fili via decision
Greene Tests Hardy's Ground Game with Submission
Former All-Pro defensive end Greg Hardy's transition to MMA has brought middling results. When the former Cowboys and Panthers star announced he would make the move to MMA, there was belief the rare athleticism and size he brought to the table would make him a threat in the heavyweight division.
The truth is, the results have been a mixed bag.
Hardy is evolving in front of fans' eyes. He fought five times in 2019, displaying the good, bad and ugly of his game. He is capable of throwing with power, but when he does, the gas tank doesn't hold up. He's capable of managing his energy and fighting at a slower pace. When he does, his threat of a knockout isn't there.
The one thing that remains largely untested is his ground game. In many instances, it's simply from a lack of trying on the part of his opponents. Hardy hasn't had to defend a takedown in his last three fights. Juan Adams only attempted one, and he was at a severe physical disadvantage.
Maurice Greene isn't a takedown master by trade. He has not landed a takedown in any of his UFC fights, but the thought has to cross his mind against Hardy. He has nine submission wins to his name, and Hardy looks uncomfortable in the few fights that have hit the mat.
If Greene decides to mix some grappling into this bout, it would be a change of pace for what Hardy has likely prepared for. If he can actually get him to the ground, he would hold the biggest advantage anyone has in this fight.
Prediction: Greene via third-round submission
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