Sean Strickland (-198) vs. Uriah Hall (+166)
Weight Class: Middleweight (185 lbs)
Sean Strickland will be headlining his first UFC main event when he squares up with longtime veteran Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 33. The fight is far and away the most anticipated bout on a card that has been decimated by COVID, weight-cut issues and injuries.
For Strickland, he has been on a rampage since returning from a long layoff after a motorcycle accident. He first put on a striking clinic against Jack Marshman in his return bout. He won the fight so handily that he pulled a Kevin Holland and talked to his opponent mid-fight.
He then followed it up with a quick turnaround knockout against Brendan Allen, a very solid win. Allen had his moments in the fight but Strickland was ultimately able to get the better of boxing combos. Allen, who just picked up a very solid win over Puna Soriano, has been angling for a rematch. Then, Strickland won another easy decision against Krzysztof Jotko. It was another striking clinic where Strickland was just a step ahead.
Sean Strickland has excellent boxing. He keeps a very high work rate and is able to out-volume most opponents. His power bar is also highly improved since moving up to middleweight.
The striking defense can be a bit troublesome, but it does work for him. Strickland has a tendency to keep his hands low and he will fall back with his head straight up, which could lead to a big knockout. But like I said, it works for him. The way he moves back is very unorthodox, but he does seem to read shots well.
As for Uriah Hall, this will be his first appearance since the brutal Chris Weidman leg injury at UFC 261. Hall didn’t even get a chance to throw a strike before Weidman shattered his leg.
While there isn’t anything to read from that one, Uriah Hall is on a late career run and hasn’t lost since 2018, when he was knocked out by Paulo Costa. This is almost certainly his last chance for a title and he is extra motivated. On this current run, he most recently sent Anderson Silva to retirement with a fourth round KO last Halloween.
Stylistically, Hall is an excellent kickboxer. He has one shot knockout power and has long been a feared knockout artist. He does run into issues with volume, however, which could be an issue in this one.
I ultimately have to go with Sean Strickland in this bout, though Hall certainly has a path to a knockout. How Strickland will hold up over five rounds remains to be seen as well, especially given how high of a work-rate he typically generates.
At the end of the day though, it’s just hard to see Hall winning rounds. Strickland just has too much volume. The head movement issues could be scary, because Hall certainly has head kick ability and what not, but it’s tough not to favor Strickland. Strickland is known for high volume while the opposite is true for Hall.
FanDuel has Sean Strickland moneyline at (-198), which I used in a 1U parlay coupled with an Olympics play. I’m going to roll the dice on Strickland by points at (+210), as well. I think he’ll be able to bank the early rounds and either not have enough steam to get the finish late, or slow down, but I expect him to have done enough even if he slows down in the fifth. Uriah Hall by knockout at (+300) is a worthwhile hedge as well.
Prediction and play: Sean Strickland by points (+210) and Sean Strickland moneyline (-198)
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