The UFC is back action at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time in awhile. After another successful run at Fight Island, the promotion returns stateside to bring a rare event on Halloween. Headlining the event is the former Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva and Uriah Hall. The ‘Spider’ make the walk to the octagon for his 25th time and perhaps last time. At 45 years old, Silva is uncertain of his future. However, he’s locked in and ready to take on the formerly dubbed “next Anderson Silva”. While Hall hasn’t lived up to those expectations, he has provided the UFC with highlight reel knockouts. Could we be in store for another one?
UFC Fight Night 181 Main Card on ESPN+ (7 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Anderson Silva vs. Uriah Hall – At 45 years old, the legend that is Anderson Silva, may enter that octagon for the last time. While retirement has been mulled over for years, Silva has kept fighting and against only the best. After all, he is one of the greatest fighters to ever grace mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, father time has tapped on his shoulder. A 1-6 record, with one no contest in Silva’s last seven fights is a far cry from the fighter who had tore through the UFC with sixteen consecutive victories.
However, even in most of Silva’s recent losses – he’s been fairly competitive. So don’t think this is a cake walk for Uriah Hall. After all, Hall has been one of the more inconsistent fighters in the UFC. With immense talent, Hall’s 16-9 professional record just seems wacky for such a gifted athlete.
As for a prediction, give me Silva. While Hall is a solid striker and has speed, Silva has still shown striking defense capable of dragging this fight into the later rounds. Given this is a five round fight, I’m not sure what to expect from Hall’s gas tank. Hall’s durability hasn’t exactly been great either, with his last three losses coming via knockout. Perhaps Silva can turn back the clock and record his first stoppage victory since 2012 – his last title defense. I know for one, if this heads into the fourth or fifth round – I can certainly see it. So with that, give me Silva to win via TKO.
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Bryce Mitchell – This is a really good fight, and there are a lot of questions that could be answered here. For one, will Bryce Mitchell be able to continue dominating with his superior grappling? Two, if Mitchell can’t control Andre Fili and should the fight take place on the feet, can he hold his own? Lastly, can Fili avoid a close fight and begin to finally build momentum?
I’m not sure what to expect. Fili has good wrestling abilities and hasn’t been taken down in his last five fights. It used to be a crutch in his early days, but Fili has evolved. On the feet, not only does he have a size and reach advantage, but he’s clearly the better striker. Mitchell’s route to winning this fight is to get it to the mat, and control Fili. If he can take Fili down, I definitely could see that given what we’ve witnessed Mitchell do to a black belt in Charles Rosa. While I hate to take a fighter with one route to victory, I lean Mitchell winning this fight via a close decision.
185 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. Charlie Ontiveros – Appreciate Charlie Ontiveros for stepping in, but he unfortunately is a sacrificial lamb. With six losses, and an only 65% win rate – this is going to get ugly and fast. While Kevin Holland might play with his food, expect him to eat eventually. So with that, give me Holland via TKO.
265 lbs.: Maurice Greene vs. Greg Hardy – I’m not sure how seriously I can take Maurice Greene after his last victory over Gian Villante. In what seemed like a fight he was about to lose, an exhausted Villante succumbed to a submission while in top control. Prior to the the submission victory, Greene was getting tagged and rocked several times. In fact, Villante’s significant striking accuracy was 68%, which was 26% better than his average. If a 205’r, who hasn’t knocked anyone out in nearly four years hurt Greene badly – I can’t imagine what Greg Hardy is going to do. Oh wait, I can. Hardy wins via first round knockout.
155 lbs.: Bobby Green vs. Thiago Moises – While I like Thiago Moises and his excellent submission abilities – a fighter with higher IQ isn’t going to succumb to his ankle lock attempt’s. Only Michael Johnson would look good for a round and then lose via that or anything else for the matter. Now, does Bobby Green have good fight IQ? If you asked me before, his unwillingness to mix in his striking and wrestling hurt. However, his shaking his head after every punch and hands down approach didn’t help his cause – especially in the judge’s eyes. Now, since June, Green has rattled off three straight wins. While his hands remain low sometimes, he’s used advantageously in the countering department.
While Moises could catch Green with a submission, it’s unlikely. Green has shown a solid ground game, with really good wrestling abilities. His striking, specifically his jab is excellent. In my opinion, Green might not throw the output he can given the threat of Moises grappling – but he will land the more significant shots and outpoint the Brazilian. So with that, give me Green to win his fourth consecutive game via decision.
UFC Fight Night 181 Main Card on ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Alexander Hernandez – I want to believe in Alexander Hernandez, I really do. He went from a potential UFC superstar to an afterthought in a blink of an eye. Perhaps trash talking Donald Cerrone wasn’t the best of idea’s, especially given the result of the fight and what has happened since. However, Hernandez is presented an opportunity to rebuild against a lesser talent than he’s fought thus far. I will say though, I worry about Hernandez’s gas tank and durability. Against a volume puncher like Chris Gruetzemacher, who shows toughness and the will to win – I could see this fight getting dicier the later it goes. I will though side with Hernandez to get the job done via decision.
135 lbs.: Adrian Yanez vs. Victor Rodriguez – Other than Jared Mazurek, who exactly has Victor Rodriguez beaten? The answer would be no one. Adrian Yanez for the most part, has fought better competition. His losses have both come via split decision to current UFC fighters Domingo Pilartes and Miles John’s. With legit knockout power, Yanez is going to make quick work of a fighter I believe would benefit from fighting some tougher guys on the regional scene. So with that, give me Yanez to win via knockout.
185 lbs.: Sean Strickland vs. Jack Marshman – It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Sean Strickland in the octagon. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident is to blame for his absence. However, the once massive Welterweight is moving up fifteen pounds and he takes on Jack Marshman. Let’s be real here, Sean Strickland is the better overall fighter. The only edge Marshman has, is being more active. Other than that, his abysmal striking accuracy and takedown defense give him very little chances in fights. This one in particular is going to be rough, as Strickland mixes in his striking and wrestling very well. In the end, I don’t see Marshman lasting all three rounds – Strickland wins this via TKO.
170 lbs.: Cole Williams vs. Jason Witt – This is a total crap-shoot. Both men are finishers, who have durability concerns of their own. Despite Cole Williams having the size and striking advantages, I liken Jason Witt’s ability to get this fight to the floor more. If anything, the ability to grind out opponents is in his arsenal. Given this is likely a loser leaves town fight, give me Jason Witt to win via decision.
205 lbs.: Dustin Jacoby vs. Justin Ledet – I was so wrong about Justin Ledet. I thought the UFC Heavyweight division had a potential contender on their hands. Then, after three wins, Ledet dropped down to Light Heavyweight. Let’s just say, it hasn’t worked out at all. On the heels of three consecutive losses, Ledet is heading towards pink slip territory. The once seemingly good striker, doesn’t have the same volume he showed twenty pounds heavier. Against someone like Jacoby, who throws volume, has power and cardio – the writing is on the wall here for me. Either Ledet wilts late or more likely, Jacoby dominates for a three round decision victory.
135 lbs.: Miles Johns vs. Kevin Natividad – This is somewhat of a toss-up, especially given Miles Johns run thus far in the UFC. However, you can’t overlook his dominant run over solid competition in LFA. Kevin Natividad too fought under the LFA banner. However, most of his competition was soft – even getting knocked out in nine seconds to a near .500 fighter. In 2019, Natividad narrowly won via split decision over a .500 fighter. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I’m a a wait and see on Natividad. So with that, give me Johns to win via decision.