One of the most interesting matchups featured on UFC 269 will take place amongst the preliminary bouts. Ryan Hall, one of the most difficult puzzles in the featherweight division, will return after losing via devastating knockout this past summer. The previously relaxed submission artist will look to fix the mistakes in his game and come back better, but what that will look like remains to be seen.
In his way is Darrick Minner, a submission artist in his own right who boasts 23 finishes in 26 wins, 21 of which coming in the first round. A firework of a fighter, Minner always promises to bring the fight when he enters the cage and will pose a largely juxtaposing style to the relaxed and calculated Hall. If Minner is able to pull off the win, it will be by far the biggest win of his career thus far.
Hall vs. Minner betting odds
Hall will be the favorite as he returns to the octagon in search of a new win streak. Minner will win an underdog profit of $170 for those willing to put down $100 dollars on him, should he come out victorious.
- Hall: -210
- Minner: +170
Hall vs. Minner breakdown
Ryan Hall has one of the most intriguing styles in the world of mixed martial arts. His ability on the ground is what most fighters fear, and most wouldn’t even entertain the idea of following him there regardless of the circumstance. For the most part, this has allowed Hall a rare freedom to get away with anything on the feet without fear of being taken down, which has led to an odd style of karate-esque movement, flashy long-range kicks and often dropping to his back when off balance or in danger, only to be allowed a reset on the feet as his opponents back away from his guard.
However, this was destined to work until it doesn’t, and Ilia Topuria, a dangerous grappler with power in his hands, exposed the danger in Hall’s style in his last showing, as Hall continually dropped for Donkey guard, Topuria landed ground and pound in the awkward position and demonstrated why the tactic is not seen in MMA. Expect Hall to come back with a more reserved game plan, and weigh his risks more vigilantly.
Darrick Minner’s style is characterized by a few elements. He is a fast starter as evident by his array of first-round finishes. He comes in with a crouched stance and high guard, low kicks and boxing primarily dominate his striking tactics, but for the most part, they’re only a route to the clinch and then the takedown. Minner is a top game wrestler with good submissions, especially the guillotine, he likes to hunt the neck in the clinch if he isn’t shooting, and once he does he does a great job of transitioning in order to stay on top and hunt submission after submission, knowing when to give up a failing attempt in order to look for another. This often ends up with Minner throwing attack after attack on the ground until one inevitably works.
However, because he sets such a ferocious pace in the first round, he very much banks on that early stoppage, sometimes ending up fading as the fight progresses. Hall’s style is not as volume-dependent but his arsenal of kicks should pack enough power and KO threat to slow down Minner’s pursuit, but it will be up to Hall to gain that respect early with his striking. If he can do so, by slowing down the fight Hall may be able to pull Minner into deeper water, his relaxed approach is a good way in which he reserves his cardio.
I don’t see Minner being able to submit Hall, but as shown by Topuria, Hall has to adjust how comfortable he gets playing around on the bottom. In the past one of Hall’s biggest strengths is his imanari rolls as a means to get the fight down, he both does this and settles into the leg lock on the bottom, or uses it to sweep and get to the top, the latter should be of higher consideration for Hall in order to avoid punches and take the top control wrestler out of his game.
Hall vs. Minner Prediction
I think that the outcome of this fight will largely be determined by how Ryan Hall returns. He is the favorite for a reason, between two submission artists Hall should have the advantage and his striking includes more tools. However, if he comes in too relaxed the same vulnerabilities shown prior could be exploited, and if he comes in having changed too much there’s no telling what could happen, in order to win Hall has to find the perfect balance of trusting his unique style and sharpening the few gaps that make the difference.
Prediction: Ryan Hall via submission or decision
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.