Middleweight striking ace Uriah Hall is a long-time UFC contender enjoying a recent resurgence. Born July 1984, the fighter nicknamed ‘Prime Time’ has long lived up to the moniker with a vast array of highlight reel finishes. Along his career path, Hall has also chosen to speak on his own internal battles that have always shaped his fights in the cage.
Hall moved to America at 13 years-old from where he was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica. He faced a lot of bullying while attending school in Queens, New York and has spoken of how it affected him, and how being beaten up and the treatment he faced had him contemplating suicide at points.
He cites the low confidence that stemmed from this period as a recurring obstacle he’s had to wrestle with throughout his career. His mum signed him up to Tiger Schulmann MMA to build up his confidence.
Hall credits Schulmann with providing much more than coaching, providing a paternal influence that gave him guidance, through martial arts training, to work through so much of the adversity that life had dealt him.
Hall refined his striking skills in kickboxing in the World Combat League and then transitioned to MMA. Finding success early, Hall achieved finishes in his first three fights, with the third winning him the Ring of Combat Middleweight title.
Hall competed on The Ultimate Fighter Season 17, showing a lethal side to his abilities but also an introspective and vulnerable side to his personality. He described his struggles with confidence as a constant battle every time he fights, a constant battle. This is the case despite him clearly being the standout talent on the show, the first pick and clear early favourite.
While achieving numerous spectacular finishes, including knockout of the season, Hall often seemed conflicted in the aftermath. Fans saw an empathic side to him, being genuinely upset when his opponents are hurt in a way that few fighters are. ‘Prime Time’ has expressed on multiple occasions that while he loves martial arts and being an MMA fighter, hurting people is a part of the sport he struggles with.
What fans could see from the show is that Hall has a conflicted relationship with fighting in being highly capable yet riddled with doubt. Hall has felt that all the success martial arts have brought him has made it somewhat inescapable as a path.
During his time in the UFC, Hall has seen a mixture of success and failure. His movement on the feet is very hard to read, the feints, level changes and hip shifts can be at times constant. The opponent is often left frozen, unable to read whether it is a right hand or a spinning kick coming their way.
The issue is that this version of Hall does not always appear, there have been many fights where he has not in his own words been “emotionally present”. He has also spoken of how he will often let his opponents beat him up a bit as its in that state that he fights best. Many of his most spectacular wins have been preceded by very tough rounds. However, since training with Fortis MMA and legendary striking coach, Rafael Cordeiro there is now a greater consistency to Hall’s performances.
Now you’ve got the back story on the Middleweight contender, let’s get into the hotlist of “Prime Time’s” best and most dominating bouts – as we breakdown Uriah Hall’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
- Vs. Aung La N Sang – ROC 35 (Apr. 8, 2011)
- Vs. Krzysztof Jotko – UFC Fight Night 116 (Sept. 16, 2017)
- Vs. Bevon Lewis – UFC 232 (Dec. 29, 2018)
- Vs. Adam Cella – The Ultimate Fighter S17 (Nov. 8, 2012)
- Vs. Gegard Mousasi – UFC Fight Night 75 (Sep. 27, 2015)
In this bout, Hall goes for an early takedown at 7 seconds of round 1, landing in Sang’s guard. Sang goes for an unsuccessful armbar attempt, after which Hall starts to ground and pound.
Hall pushes Sang’s back against the cage, controls the wrists and lands some square head strikes. Sang gets his feet to Hall’s hips, pushes him off and stands up. They return to the center of the cage, Hall partially lands a spinning wheel kick as the round ends that sees Sang drop to the floor but spring back up again quickly, appearing unhurt.
The second round starts with both fighters exchanging kicks.
Sang throws a leg kick that Hall catches and follows up with a strike, Sang goes to his back and Hall goes into Sang’s guard, soon to be stood up due to a lack of action.
Both fighters start feinting and circling until Hall lands a heavy roundhouse body kick and follows up with a knee in the clinch and a right hand as they separate.
At the beginning of round 3, Sang shoots for a takedown which he tries to turn into bottom half guard position after Hall sprawls. As Sang goes for the butterfly guard Hall is able to stand.
Both back to feet, they now throw head kicks and right hands, intending to cause heavy damage with neither getting through. Hall lands a right-hand counter (as Sang goes in for a superman punch) following this up with a right hand that drops Sang for a walk off K.O. as the referee steps in to call the fight.
Hall was on a 3-fight skid coming into the Jotko fight, and in much need of a win. He later revealed that he contemplated retirement after Round 1, which makes the later comeback finish all the more impressive.
The fight started clearly in Jotko’s favour, with the fighter landing a big right-hand uppercut at 1 minute 47 seconds. He followed up with several more uppercuts that broke through Hall’s guard sending him to the floor.
Hall tries to get to his feet, taking more shots along the way.
Jotko then got behind his back, body-locking Hall back to the floor and then transitioning to mount. As Hall tried to escape the mount, Jotko transitions to the back. Hall returns to standing but Jotko brings him back down, looking for a rear naked choke finish. Hall defends by aiming to get his back to the matt and Jotko goes back to mount.
Hall unbalances Jotko as he tries to ground and pound, then escapes and scrambles back to standing. Hall then lands a big left hand.
In round 2, Hall begins by increasing his kicking output, throwing several leg kicks before going to the head. This keeps Hall from getting backed up against the fence and with the space now made, he begins to shift, feint and find his rhythm. Jotko sends out a pawing jab to create space and Hall responds with a huge straight right that sends Jotko down. Hall then follows up with several ground strikes until the referee steps in to call the end.
Having won just one fight in his last four, this was probably a ‘make or break’ time fight in terms of Hall continuing to compete in the UFC. It was also against a very promising undefeated prospect that had talked a lot of trash in the build-up.
Lewis started quickly, throwing heavy punches and kicks, backing Hall up to the fence. Lewis landed a front kick on Hall’s jaw in the first 30 seconds following up with several oblique kicks to Hall’s thigh. Hall began to start looking to work off the jab and inside leg kicks later in the round but still remained quite passive, throwing very little.
Shortly after, Lewis catches Hall’s leg kick and rushes to a back clinch, landing an elbow on Hall’s head as they turn to separate.
Round 2 begins with Lewis throwing right hands to counter Hall’s jab, not allowing any momentum to build. Lewis lands a big overhand right that backs Hall up whilst maintaining pressure with oblique leg kicks, outworking Hall. Hall slips following a blocked high kick and Lewis rushes to a back clinch.
Lewis lands knees to Hall’s thighs and foot stomps, Hall backs to the cage and they separate. Hall begins to bring more pressure later on as Lewis looks to take a breather, landing a heavy turning side kick to the body at 4 minutes, 40 seconds.
At the beginning of round 3, Lewis throws a flurry of punches and clinches Hall against the fence landing a big left hook as they separate.
Hall is slightly more active now, landing push kicks to the body. Lewis swings a big overhand right which Hall counters with a sharp right hand to Lewis’ jaw at 1 minute, 25 seconds – instantly achieving a game-winning knockout.
This performance won the Knockout of the Season and was described as the best finish ever on The Ultimate Fighter by Dana White.
Hall was effectually considered the number one seed, having been picked first and now fighting first when Team Sonnen got control of matchmaking. Yet in fighting a guy with multiple submissions it threatened to be quite the upset.
It begins with both fighters looking to establish their jabs. They clinch at 20 seconds with Hall landing knees whilst Cella looks for a single-leg takedown. Hall catches Cella’s kick then brings him to the ground, ending up in full guard. Hall stands up out of Cella’s guard and they begin striking again.
As the round continues, Hall seems to look more comfortable, dictating the direction at will. Hall push kicks Cella to the floor after which he stands back up.
Hall’s output diminishes and Cella starts to throw more, landing a lead body kick. Hall lands a lead side kick at 3 minutes 5 seconds that sends Cella briefly to the canvas again. Hall follows up with several well-timed jabs, whilst also starting to shift and feint. With 5 seconds remaining, he then spins to land a hook kick knocking out Cella as the referee rushes in to formally end the fight.
This fight was a co-main event in Japan. Mousasi, being 12-1 in the UFC at the time was the former Strikeforce Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Dream Middleweight Champion. Additionally, Mousasi was the more well-rounded skill wise and the clear favourite.
Round 1 begins and at 10 seconds in, Mousasi catches Hall’s leg-kick and presses forward, bringing Hall to the ground. After some scrambling Mousasi ends up in Hall’s guard. Mousasi lands ground strikes to Hall’s head then pressures to stacked guard.
With heavy top pressure, Mousasi gets to half guard then quickly slides his knee through to get to side control. As Mousasi steps over to mount, Hall frames off his hips then shifts out to try and escape managing to get back to full guard.
Mousasi begins to work through heavy elbow strikes. This leads to getting half guard but Hall is able to stop the advance from here. Mousasi frees his leg ending up in full mount. Hall bumps Mousasi upwards back to his feet then counters with ashi garami (joint lock) leg control.
As Hall retains control, Mousasi returns to the floor to get his leg free. Mousasi gets round to side control but by now Hall has switched to a kimura grip with which he was able to cause Mousasi problems, reversing the position then working to an armbar position.
Mousasi grips his trapped arm until he can get his elbow out from between Hall’s legs then becomes free. Mousasi returns to pressure guard passing, getting back to mount. Hall rolls belly down and Mousasi starts looking for a rear naked choke. Hall protects his chin until Mousasi lands several strikes which allows him to get his forearm under Hall’s chin. The round ends with Hall still defending.
Round 2 begins and at 7 seconds as Mousasi dips, Hall lands a jumping turning side kick to Mousasi’s face. This precision strike completely reverses the direction of the fight. Mousasi staggers back and Hall closes in.
Mousasi lunges for a reflex takedown for recovery time which Hall meets with a flying knee to Mousasi’s face. Hall follows up with several ground strikes as Mousasi looks to hang on to a single leg and recover. After multiple unanswered strikes the referee steps in to call the end.