After tearing through TUF competition, Uriah Hall appears primed for UFC stardom (Yahoo! Sports)


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

Three men who have won their division on "The Ultimate Fighter" have subsequently gone on to win a UFC world title belt.

Matt Serra won the welterweight title by scoring the biggest upset in UFC history, knocking out Georges St-Pierre in his first fight after defeating Chris Lytle to win TUF 4.

Serra, though, was an anomaly among TUF winners because he appeared on a "comeback" season in which veterans who had left the UFC came back for a chance at redemption. In most other seasons, the fighters on the show have entered it with little or no previous UFC experience.

That was the case with both Season 1 winner Forrest Griffin and Season 2 winner Rashad Evans. Each man won the UFC light heavyweight title in their eighth fight after winning TUF.

Chael Sonnen, who coached Uriah Hall on Season 17 of "The Ultimate Fighter," believes Hall is already a contender in the UFC's middleweight division.

That's a remarkable step for any fighter to be a contender so quickly. Even accomplished fighters who have dominated in other promotions, such as Hector Lombard, have struggled when they've joined the UFC.

Lombard is only 1-2 in the UFC and his job security is probably no better than the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

[Also: Miesha Tate is refocused and ready for Saturday's fight]

Hall will meet Kelvin Gastelum on Saturday in the "The Ultimate Fighter Finale" at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and then, if Sonnen is correct, head straight into bouts against top middleweights.

Hall, whose knockout of Adam Cella in his first match was one of the most spectacular in UFC history, knocked out Dylan Andrews from the bottom position in the semifinals. As doctors tended to Andrews, Sonnen walked over to Hall in the cage and said, "You're a contender. I spent five years in the 185 division, and you're a contender right now."

With time to think about it, Sonnen didn't change his mind. Reached by email, Sonnen was adamant.

"He could win the title today, but right now he just needs to focus on competing well Saturday night," Sonnen said.

The UFC has developed some stars from TUF, with Evans, Griffin, Diego Sanchez, Michael Bisping and Nate Diaz.

Both Sonnen and UFC president Dana White are convinced Hall is going to join that group. Each man he fought – Andy Enz, Cella, McDaniel and Andrews – wound up in the hospital.

Hall's four TUF fights are considered exhibitions, so they don't count on his official record. Officially, he's 7-2 with losses only to Chris Weidman and Costas Philippou.

Weidman is rated No. 1 at middleweight and will challenge Anderson Silva for the title in July. Philippou is ranked sixth in the division and has won five in a row.

Hall is guaranteed nothing unless he defeats Gastelum on Saturday, and that's no sure thing. Even conceding that point, White could barely contain himself when he spoke of Hall's potential.

What has amazed White so much about Hall is the body control he has displayed. He was able to do things with his body that only the elite of the elite can do.

"You know how boxers will feint punches with their arms and their shoulders?" White said. "Well, Uriah does it with his feet and his arms at the same time. People just don't know what's coming. They're looking at him and they see him do that and they don't know if he's going to punch, if he's going for a kick or what the [expletive] he might do.

[Also: Urijah Faber displays characteristic charm before UFC bout ]

"He can snap off those kicks so fast, it's scary. He's unbelievable. I think the kid is incredibly talented. He's done what no one has done in TUF history. You don't see guys in the UFC fighting like Uriah Hall does. He feints those kicks and he can then throw them in any direction, with awesome power."

It's a safe bet that a number of fighters from Season 17 will go on to have successful UFC careers. It's even possible that one of them may surpass Hall's accomplishments when it is all said and done.

But few in the lengthy history of the UFC's reality show have ever stirred interest the way Hall has. White has to feel like an NFL scout who picks up a 1,500-yard running back while walking his dog past a flag football game in the park.

Hall has the ability to be special, and those kinds of finds are very rare and even more cherished.

More news from Yahoo! Sports Minute:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Tianlang Guan's mom packs lunch as 14-year-old takes on Masters like a veteran
Could Jay-Z help Giants secure Victor Cruz?
NL West has blood feud after Zack Greinke breaks collarbone in Dodgers-Padres game

view original article >>

Related News

  • 20 days ago
  • 55 views

After bursting onto the scene with a series of jaw-dropping knockouts on TUF 17, Uriah Hall has since failed to live up to his massive potential in the Octagon. He'll return to action against Thiago Santos at this Saturday night's (July 5, 2014) UFC 175 from Las Vegas. Is it finally Hall's time to shine, or will he be just another casualty of what could have been? Read our fight preview to find out! This Saturday night (July 5, 2014), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Uriah Hall more

  • 20 days ago
  • 78 views

It took all of five minutes and one jaw-dropping knockout against Adam Cella in his second fight on The Ultimate Fighter for MMA fans to buy into Uriah Hall as the frontrunner to win the 17th season of the tournament. A quick knockout over Bubba McDaniel and a TKO against Dylan Andrews in his next two fights had fans buying into Hall as a genuine contender in the division once ruled by pound-for-pound great Anderson Silva. Hall had people thinking less of how he would fare against fellow TUF fin more

  • 18 days ago
  • 53 views

Uriah Hall takes on fellow Middleweight Thiago Santos for a bout to decide if Hall won't become the next Phillipe Nover at UFC 175 in Vegas. Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos Middleweight So is Uriah Hall the next Phillipe Nover and we just don't know it yet? Possibly. I hate to play into the following narrative but I'll do it anyway. As everyone and their pinko commie friends knows, there is a racial component to how observers look at black athletes. Racial stereotypes are perpetuated by the assumpt more

  • 18 days ago
  • 121 views

Thiago Santos says his fight with Uriah Hall will probably end in a knockout on Saturday at UFC 175.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 18 days ago
  • 36 views

Thiago Santos takes on fellow The Ultimate Fighter alum Uriah Hall at UFC 175, but he’s not scared of his flashy knockouts or unorthodox attacks. Santos scored one of the biggest upsets of the year with a 53-second knockout over Ronny Markes at UFC Fight Night 38 in March, and he wants to do it again on Saturday night’s card in Las Vegas, Nev. "He’s flashy, has his own style, and I have to pay attention. He has unorthodox attacks and he can surprise you at any moment, but I’m not afraid of him," more

  • 16 days ago
  • 51 views

The worldwide leader for mixed martial arts and UFC news, MMA News, UFC Rumors, MMA Rankings, Interviews, Videos, UFC Results, and UFC Blog more

  • 16 days ago
  • 68 views

This is the UFC 175 live blog for Uriah Hall vs. Thiago Santos, a middleweight bout at Saturday night's UFC event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.Hall, who is 1-2 in his UFC career, will face Santos, who is 1-1 in the UFC, on the main card.Check out the UFC 175 live blog below. More Coverage: UFC 175 Results | UFC newsDownload MMA Fighting iPhone App Round 1:Round 2:Round 3: more

  • 16 days ago
  • 21 views

A match-up of heavy hitting middleweights took place on the main card of tonight's (Sat., July 5, 2014) UFC 175: "Weidman vs. Machida" pay-per-view (PPV) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, as former Ultimate Fighter contestants Uriah Hall and Thiago Santos met in the center of the cage to exchange leather. It was fun. They came out letting 'em fly, throwing spinning shit (shout out to Nick Diaz, or whatever), and trading punches in the pocket. Santos worked a lot of leg kick more

  • 16 days ago
  • 39 views

LAS VEGAS - Ever since he came up short on "The Ultimate Fighter 17" after a huge hype, Uriah Hall has had his heart questioned. Saturday night, Hall silenced his doubters, hopefully for good. Hall suffered a right foot injury, likely a broken toe, sometime during the first round of his middleweight fight against Thiago Santos at UFC 175 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. But Hall persevered in a tremendous display of heart and went through with the bout. He earned a unanimous decision, winning more