The UFC returns to the UFC Apex facility this Saturday night with a UFC on ESPN event headlined by Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland.
The middleweight pair are set to battle in a five-round main event but were originally slated to compete on the upcoming UFC 265 fight card just one week later.
Like always, we’re here to share our staff predictions before this UFC main event bout. Read detailed analysis from Braeden Arbour and Michael Pounders below before checking out our other UFC predictions here.
Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland betting odds
- Uriah Hall: +155
- Sean Strickland: -195
Strickland enters this fight as a decent-sized betting favorite at odds of -195. Hall’s the underdog in this one and is currently valued at +155.
Here’s an example of how to interpret the Hall vs. Strickland odds:
- A successful $100 bet on Hall to win returns $255
- A successful $100 bet on Strickland to win returns $151
So, who are we picking to win this bantamweight clash on Saturday night?
Braeden Arbour and Michael Pounders shared their detailed analysis ahead of the fight down below. Continue reading for our Hall vs. Strickland staff predictions.
Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland predictions
Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland can be considered opposites in their approach to fighting. While Hall is creative and powerful and excels in choosing his moments, Strickland is dedicated to the fundamentals and is an accumulative knockout fighter.
When this matchup is contested on Saturday, the goal for Strickland should be to establish forward control. As is the case for many fighters, Strickland is far more successful when he is not on the backfoot. However, we have seen in the past that he will chase his opponents rather than cut off the cage. The danger in this with Hall, is that Hall does his best work when he has space in any direction, by chasing Hall, Strickland may allow Hall the room he needs to give space and counter.
If Strickland has made this adjustment in his training, look for him to put Hall against the cage where he is far less comfortable and stifle his creativity. With his crisp boxing fundamentals, Strickland needs to accumulate damage towards Hall if he wants a finish, however with consistent pressure, this could also be a route to a decision victory.
For Hall, the goal should be to maintain that space around him. He often paws at his opponent’s lead hand in order to establish a rhythm even when they aren’t engaged. By doing so, Hall times his big moments, often straight right hands and spinning kicks.
When not pawing, Hall’s jabs are some of the most deadly in the game, not thrown out in order to just gauge distance or set up a rear attack, but rather even his jab has the power and intention for the knockout. It will be an important tool to stop Strickland’s forward pressure. Hall should look to punish Strickland every time he gets too comfortable moving forward. He should do this by utilizing the jab, picking moments to stand his ground, and use his feints.
In terms of grappling, I do not see Hall looking to take Strickland down. Strickland may look to mix it up with the takedowns especially if he finds himself in difficult situations on the feet, however, it is not his first instinct. It is very important for Hall to not accept the defensive position, we have seen him in the past go into survival mode and work to defend submissions without attempting to get back to his feet or provide any offense. Although Strickland isn’t known as a particularly dangerous grappler, Hall has to be wary of wasting time by accepting losing positions to Strickland.
I see Strickland taking the lead in the fight, however, with the ability to attack moving backward, the creativity to keep Strickland guessing, and the power to change the fight at a moment’s notice, I think that Uriah Hall gets it done in round three if not by decision.
Prediction: Uriah Hall by 3rd round KO or decision
After a horrific motorcycle accident that nearly ended not only Strickland’s career but also his life, “Tarzan” has made an incredible recovery. Since returning to the UFC in 2020, he is on a three-fight win streak. During that streak, he has two decision wins and one TKO finish. His fight strategy in the octagon is transparent — out-box his opponent and do whatever it takes to stay on the feet. The 30-year-old middleweight is one of the more technical and talented boxers in the UFC. He keeps his hands high, stalks forward persistence and fluidly, avoids strikes, uses feints to get a read, and lands his shots with precision and power. If you’re a fan of fundamental boxing, you’ll enjoy watching “Tarzan” fight. If you’re not, you’ll likely enjoy his commentary during the fight. Beyond his fighting acumen, Strickland is one of the more vocal fighters in the UFC, often talking to his opponent during the fight. With a 23-3 record, 10 knockout wins, at 67% strike differential, and a 3-fight win streak, his skill more than backups his trash talk.
Riding a four-fight win streak and primarily a power striker himself, Hall will go toe-to-toe with Strickland on Saturday night. “Primetime” himself has crisp, quick, and powerful boxing. He often leads with his jab as he moves forward, following behind with big power shots when he plants and throws. Of his 17 wins, 13 have come via knockout. Despite often dishing out the devastating finishes, Hall has hit the canvas himself. In his 9 losses, the 36-year-old has been dropped and finished 4 times. In his last 10 fights, Hall has only seen the judges’ scorecards twice. This is likely because his strike differential is at 53% which means he often gives a shot to land a shot. When he’s the more powerful man, he’s found success with this strategy; but, when facing the likes of Whittaker, Brunson, and Costa, Hall’s shot for shot approach left him in the loser’s column. Win or lose, Hall’s fights almost always bring excitement.
After 26 UFC fights, the scouting report on Hall is straightforward — if he is the better and more powerful striker, he’ll likely drop his opponent before they drop him. However, when he faces someone more technical and/or more powerful, Hall often gets finished. Especially in his resurgence, Strickland has shown an impressive array of boxing skills. Strickland is the archetype of fighter that Hall has lost to in his career. Strickland’s skill and Hall’s history leads me to select “Tarzan.” He should be able to find Hall’s chin at some point throughout 5 rounds, and, Hall can be dropped. I like Strickland to box his way to a knockout win.
Prediction: Strickland to win by KO/TKO
Make sure to also read our other UFC Vegas 33 predictions.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.
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.
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.