UFC legend Anderson Silva has confirmed that he will hang up his gloves after his October 31 showdown with Uriah Hall, but can ‘The Spider’ ride off into the sunset with one last victory?
There was a time when Silva looked like an unstoppable monster atop the middleweight division – he had reeled off 16 consecutive victories inside the Octagon, beating a who’s who of fighters and often convincingly and in spectacular fashion, but everything changed on July 6, 2013 when his trademark showboating caught up with him. Chris Weidman landed a sensational knockout punch that night and things have not been the same for Silva since that night.
In the rematch he suffered a horrific broken leg while throwing a kick, and when he finally returns to action 13 months later his decision win over Nick Diaz was overturned to a ‘No Contest’ due to ‘The Spider’ failing a drug test. Decision defeats to Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier followed before he finally ended a four-plus year wait for a win with a controversial decision success against Derek Brunson, but when he returned to action two years later he was outclassed by Israel Adesanya and a couple of months later he was stopped by Jared Cannonier inside a round.
With every outing he has looked increasingly like a shadow of his former self, so when Silva confirmed that he would finally retire this year, at the age of 45, it was an announcement that was welcome by many, many people. The question is will ‘The Spider’ enjoy one last flurry and record win number 35 before he calls time on his glittering and Hall of Fame-worthy career?
Looking to deny him a fairytale farewell is Uriah Hall – a man who’s career in the UFC can best be described as a mixed bag. He was considered one to watch in the 185lb ranks after showcasing brutal finishing power on The Ultimate Fighter, but he lost the final via split decision and showed a complete lack of finishing instinct in his first official fight under the UFC banner, as we went from prospect to somebody who had lost back-to-back fights in underwhelming fashion.
Hall rebounded with a run of three straight victories, but since then he has ridden a rollercoaster of form, going 5-5 in his last 10 fights. There was the notable stoppage success against Gegard Mousasi in that time, but most of his wins have come against underwhelming opposition and has been knocked out on three occasions. Every time he fights the question is ‘which Uriah Hall will turn up here’, and that is the question I have to try to answer.
I do not expect to see Hall come out all guns blazing and destroy Silva – in fact I fear he may do what Adesanya did and show the former champion too much respect. But even if he does that I do believe that Hall will be able to outwork Silva over the course of the fight to get the nod from the judges. It will not be a fight that people are talking about for years to come, in fact they will probably want to forget about it as soon as the two men leave the Octagon, but ultimate Hall will be the man that walks away with the ‘W’, maintaining his place in the top 10 in the division while sending Silva into retirement on the back of one final loss.