The UFC takes to Belfast, Ireland with a main event featuring a grudge match with potential middleweight title implications. Gegard Mousasi will look to avenge his highlight-reel loss against Uriah Hall when the two take to the Octagon for the second time Saturday.
The rest of the main card is filled with the usual fare for a UFC event in Europe, as several European-born fighters take to the cage in some interesting, though rather underwhelming matchups.
Gegard Mousasi vs Uriah Hall
It’s hard to fathom, but Gegard Mousasi is just 31 years old. Despite still being relatively young among elite-level fighters, “The Dreamcatcher” has 48 professional MMA fights and has been competing since 2003. This wealth of experience against elite competition has made him into one of the most complete fighters in the world.
Mousasi is excellent at controlling distance on the feet and using his head movement to avoid taking damage. That’s not to say he won’t push forward and take a shot if he feels like his opponent is reeling. We’ve seen this aggression more in his most recent fights against Vitor Belfort and Thiago Santos.
Mousasi generally wants to push his opponent against the cage where he will either blitz with his strikes or work for the takedown. The Dutchman has vicious ground and pound and slick submission skills that make him a real threat on the ground.
Hall has some of the biggest power in the middleweight division and can knock opponents out with all eight limbs. He would rather keep the fight at distance so he can properly utilize his explosive striking techniques – like his spinning kicks – to go for the knockout.
Hall is a capable grappler and mat fighter, but he is behind Mousasi in both of those regards. There is no doubt that the Jamaican will want to keep this fight standing where he has the one strike potential to end anyone.
A win in this one is critical for Hall. A loss here gives him three straight and though he won’t be cut, his time to prove he’s a legit contender is quickly closing. With another Mousasi win, he proves that he deserves a top fight in his next outing and possibly a title shot after that.
Rest Of The Main Card
Lightweight prospect Stevie Ray looks to prove he is a name to watch when he takes on grizzled vet Ross Pearson. Ray is a well-rounded fighter who excels when he can dictate the pace of the fight. He can compete in every aspect of the game, but I wouldn’t say he is great at any one area. Pearson is a strong counterpuncher who has made a career out of capitalizing on his opponent’s mistakes. This can lead to some inactivity, but Pearson won’t rush his game plan.
Former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov makes his UFC debut against Tim Johnson. “Drago” has experience in several karate-based disciplines with a black belt in Tsu Shin Gen and a brown belt in Kyokushin. He fights long and has great cardio in the standup game. Volkov is capable on the ground, but he has shown that he can be overwhelmed in that area of the game. Johnson is a wrestler with solid boxing skills and good cardio. He’s not fancy, but has proven that he has the potential to be a legit contender.
The exciting Teruto Ishihara takes on Conor McGregor training partner Artem Lobov in the Sportsbook of the main card. Lobov is legitimately one of the worst fighters in the UFC and likely only has a job thanks to McGregor. Ishihara has made a name for himself with his knockout power and his constant talk of his “bitches.”