The UFC has a tall task before it this Saturday, as the world’s largest MMA promotion attempts to top the show they put on in Abu Dhabi last week. I realize it’s patently unfair for us to expect the UFC to roll out a “Khabib vs Gaethje” caliber card week in and week out, but a boy can dream right?
While this card lacks the pomp and circumstance of its predecessor, it has its share of star quality, interesting matchups and divisional rivalries, and I suppose that is good enough for a spoiled NHL fan like me. Let’s ride!
Uriah Hall (-225) vs Anderson Silva (+185)
I cannot decide how I feel about this fight. Is this the beautifully poetic ride off into the sunset for the middleweight GOAT as he passes the torch to the younger generation, or is it a poor attempt by the UFC to match Anderson Silva with a stronger and faster version of his current self who is likely to pummel him into retirement?
If it’s the latter (as I believe it is) the UFC is trading a proper send off for one of its brightest stars for a beating at the hands of a fighter whose career arc will never come anywhere close to mirroring The Spider’s. This situation would be noteworthy if this fight was happening when the mega-hype surrounding Hall was at its inception and Silva was still more than human. However, long gone are the days of Silva winning the fight before his opponent enters the cage.
Despite of my philosophical misgivings about this piece of matchmaking, Hall is simply too much for Anderson to handle at this point.
I do think Hall’s respect for Silva will bleed over into the cage, possibly making him less apt to push for a finish. That way, at the post fight press conference he can say “Only an idiot would stand in front of Anderson blah blah.” However, given that Hall should dominate this fight from bell to bell, he is playable anywhere. Sorry Spider.
Bryce Mitchell (-150) vs Andre Fili (-130)
Bryce Mitchell is a force at 13-0, although there’s no way someone else gave him the nickname “Thug Nasty”, and gracing yourself with a nom de plume is lame on many levels. Still, he is putting his perfect record on the line against Team Alpha Male’s resident terrible nickname offender Andre “Touchy” Fili.
On the real, Mitchell is a wild man who has overwhelmed his prior opponents with loads of offense. On the contrary, Fili has quick, rangy punches that he will have to use in droves to keep Mitchell from ending up in top position. While Fili has been able to use his jab and his counter wrestling to keep most fights standing versus lesser opponents, I don’t see him pulling it off against Mitchell.
I foresee Mitchell grinding out a dominant win. Although Fili might give him a submission scare or two, this is Mitchell’s fight to lose. Play him everywhere.
There is a preview of my breakdown article for this week. We will have the full article on our premium side so head over to the membership page to get signed up! We are also currently running a buy one month, get one month free, so for $19.97 you can access all our premium content until the end of the year!