UFC 261 will feature the second three title fight card of 2021. The featured championship bouts include Women’s Flyweight Champion, Valentina Shevchenko looking to make her fifth title defense against Jessica Andrade. The co-main event is filled with the most anticipated women’s fight of the year, with Zhang Weili looking to defend the gold against former champion and number one contender, Rose Namajunas. The night will then be capped off by the welterweight title rematch between champion, Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal.
However, the main event isn’t the only rematch on the UFC 261 main card. That is because we will see fight number two between former Middleweight Champion, Chris Weidman, and the surging Uriah Hall. Their first bout took place back in September of 2010, where Weidman would get the best of Hall, finishing him in the first round. Will the result remain the same this time or will Uriah find a way to right his wrongs from the past? Join us as we preview Weidman vs Hall and break down the paths to victory for each combatant!
Weidman vs Hall: Meet the Fighters
Chris “The All-American” Weidman
When Chris Weidman debuted in the UFC back in 2011, he was looked at as an undefeated wrestling phenom with all of the potential in the world. Rightfully so, as he was 4-0 at the time, with three finishes and he would keep that going once in the UFC. After having just five bouts inside the octagon, Weidman would find himself fighting for a title in what would be his tenth professional MMA bout.
His run to the title shot included three finishes and two decisions, with the most notable wins coming against Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. It was now that the young, hungry lion would find himself standing across the octagon from one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, Anderson Silva. Keep in mind that at this time in 2013, Silva was on an unprecedented 16 fight win streak and having defended the middleweight crown ten times. Anderson was the king of the UFC and was looked at as unbeatable, a man amongst boys if you will.
However, Weidman would not back down but instead shock the world. That is because just a little over one minute into the second round, Chris would find himself standing overtop Anderson after knocking him unconscious. This was one of the most incredible upsets in MMA history and a moment that changed the UFC landscape forever. Weidman had dethroned the most dominant middleweight champion of all time and put a halt to the most impressive run that the UFC at the time had ever seen.
The undefeated champion would get booked with an immediate rematch against Silva and successfully defend his title for the first time after a gruesome leg injury to Anderson ended the fight. Weidman would then go on to defend the gold two more times against two other Brazilian legends, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, via unanimous decision and TKO respectively. Chris would now prepare for his fourth defense of the title against Luke Rockhold and this is where the bumps in the road began to pile up.
Weidman would lose the title to Rockhold at UFC 194 in 2015 and his career would become a little different than what the once undefeated champion was used to. That is because following his loss of the title, he would go on to lose two more fights to Yoel Romero and current Bellator Middleweight Champion, Gegard Mousasi. All three of these consecutive losses would come by way of KO/TKO.
Chris would bounce back in his next bout and pick up a submission win over Kelvin Gastelum. Some much-needed momentum for the former champ and now an opportunity to start a winning streak to fight back to the belt. However, this would be short-lived as Weidman would go on to lose his next two fights against Jacare Souza and in an attempt to move up to light heavyweight, would fall to Dominick Reyes. Again, these losses would each come by way of KO.
After a nearly year-long layoff, Weidman would return last August to fight top fifteen ranked Omari Akhmedov. Although this fight was relatively lackluster, Chris would find himself on the winning side of a decision and looks to pick up a second straight win at UFC 261 this weekend.
At 36 years old and holding a record of 15-5 (11-5 in UFC), Weidman still has a chance to make another run for gold. However, this is no easy task and the next step is against a very dangerous Uriah Hall. As previously mentioned, this is a rematch nearly ten years in the making from when these men first squared off at Ring of Combat 31, where Weidman would get a first-round TKO victory. So much has changed since then for both men, each with hard-fought victories and heartbreaking defeat. A lot is on the line here for Chris Weidman and it will be very intriguing to see how he can respond.
Uriah “Primetime” Hall
Uriah Hall had one of the most impressive outings on the reality TV series, The Ultimate Fighter, that we have ever seen. This of course is how Hall would find himself in the UFC and although he would lose in the finals to Kelvin Gastelum in a razor-close split decision, he would still be granted a contract within the promotion after garnering so much hype. After losing again in his UFC debut, Hall was all of a sudden looking like a “one-hit wonder”, as they say in the music industry.
However, it was in his third fight where Hall would finally earn his first UFC win, along with his second and third, stringing together a three-fight win streak. This streak included names such as Chris Leben and Thiago Santos and now all of a sudden Uriah was doing what everyone expected from the beginning. He would fall short in his next bout, but that was before winning two more fights, including a win over Gegard Mousasi, and Hall had now won four out of five bouts, against some very prominent fighters and would be rewarded accordingly.
Robert Whittaker would greet Hall in his next fight and hand him a unanimous decision loss, which would be the start of a three-fight skid. The other two losses for Uriah would come against Derek Brunson and a rematch with Mousasi, losing both by TKO. Since this losing streak, Uriah has once again picked up some momentum, winning four out of his last five once more, three in a row to be exact coming into UFC 261 with the lone loss coming to then-undefeated, Paulo Costa.
Hall’s three victories in a row include Antonio Carlos Jr. and a main event TKO win over the legend Anderson Silva. It seems that at 36 years old, Uriah may just now be hitting his prime. With a professional record of 16-9 (9-7 in UFC), now is the time for him to continue his winning ways. Hall has earned a top-ten spot and now has a huge rematch with Chris Weidman lined up on one of the biggest UFC fight cards of the year. Should Uriah find himself on the winning side of things this weekend, that would make four straight and make him one step closer to his dream of challenging for a world title.
Weidman vs Hall Fight Breakdown
On paper, we have the typical striker vs grappler matchup here at UFC 261. Weidman is one of the most credentialed wrestlers on the UFC roster and Hall has very unique, technical, and powerful striking. This stylistic clash could leave us with several outcomes, that we know for sure!
For Chris, he utilized his wrestling advantage ten years ago in their first fight and we shouldn’t doubt that he will try to use it once more. After all, the saying goes something like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Look for Weidman to establish control of this fight, work for the clinch up against the cage and land the takedown. Getting a takedown against a fighter like Hall in the middle of the octagon, while not impossible, is a very tough task and could lead to fatigue quicker for Weidman.
Whilst on the ground, Weidman can finish this fight via strikes or with a submission. He is very well versed with his grappling and by far will have the advantage in this area. Should the fight stay standing, Chris by no means is a bad striker, but in comparison to Hall, could find himself in trouble should Uriah come out aggressive.
Now, going off of that last sentence, will Uriah come out with a different mindset in this one? An aggressive, higher-paced striking output. This could pay huge dividends against the battle-tested chin of his opponent. Hall has been known, especially recently, to be very patient with his striking, almost to his deficit. However, when Uriah lands clean, the power is noticeable immediately and is something that Chris will not want any part of.
The only issue with Hall coming out more aggressive in this bout is the constant threat of being taken down. He has incredible hands and so many unique kicks, yet has to be careful at how much he pulls the trigger. One false step and he could very well be laying on his back with Chris controlling him. On the other hand, should Hall come out of the gate with a higher output, he has the potential to hurt Weidman early, which can play a huge factor in determining the winner of this bout, especially if stretched all three rounds.
Hall should even score at 1-1 in this fight ultimately. He is hitting his stride right now having won three straight and seems hungrier than ever to earn his first-ever UFC title shot. This would send him even further up the rankings and in a division as wide up as middleweight is right now, one more big win over the right person at the right time could catapult him over other contenders straight into a title fight.
Weidman vs Hall Prediction: Uriah Hall via 2nd round KO/TKO
Let us know your predictions for Weidman vs Hall in the comments below!
Check out my MMA podcast and follow me on Twitter @dsallee14. Also, be sure to follow the team on Twitter @OTHeroicsMMA for more great content! Head over to the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join in on the discussion!
Weidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs HallWeidman vs Hall