The UFC returns to Las Vegas for this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva card. Anderson Silva had initially alluded to retiring after this fight with Uriah Hall, but now that the cat is out of the bag that he actually has two fights left on his contract, the “Spider” has dialed back the retirement plans somewhat, stating that he may still want to fight in the future. So, this could be his penultimate fight or the last hurrah. I’m just hoping for a good, competitive contest. The rest of the card is a very modest offering of prospects on the brink of becoming contenders, mid-tier types looking to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, and some veterans that are reinventing themselves (I’m looking at you Bobby Green).
For those that have been following our cheat sheet articles, you will note that we’ve added a new category: The Know-It-Alls. Basically, this category is for the crafty, well-rounded athletes that have demonstrated an aptitude in all areas and can score a knockout, a submission, or a bell-to-bell beatdown. The following facts and figures are a great guide for players looking to make the task of selecting their DraftKings fantasy lineups a little easier. Let’s get started.
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Bobby Green, $9,000
Bobby Green has always been a really good fighter, but the way he’s refined just about every aspect of his skillset is nothing short of amazing. Since coming back from retirement, he’s gone 3-1 and is currently on a three-fight win streak and has been racking up bout after bout in 2020, this one being his fourth in as many months. Bobby is a bit of a renaissance fighter, with a very well-rounded game. A volume striker fighting out of the orthodox stance, Green lands 5.13 strikes per minute while only absorbing 3.36 shots in the same 60-second stretch. He’s as adept on the ground as he is on the feet, with nine wins by submission. Bobby also has eight knockouts, so Thiago Moises ($7,200) will really have to stay vigilant. Green has very underrated wrestling and can defend a takedown just as easily as scoring one. Most importantly, he has good instincts and good fight IQ. He’s got nearly 13 years of experience under his belt that lends itself well to his tool chest. Thiago Moises is a very talented prospect, but Green has been enjoying a magical run and it’s hard to imagine it ends here.
Chris Gruetzemacher, $6,900
Chris Gruetzemacher certainly has his work cut out for him with Alexander Hernandez ($9,300). “Gritz” is an orthodox volume striker who believes in a heavy work rate—to the tune of 7.12 strikes per minute. He’s not exactly what I’d call defensively sound, but he does manage to deliver more punishment than he receives, absorbing 5.09 shots/minute. Where he’ll be at a disadvantage will likely be in the power department, as he just doesn’t pack a whole lot, but he’s a stalwart grinder, and makes up for the lack of power with volume. He’s a very capable wrestler, but Hernandez is as strong as an ox, and Chris has been injury-riddled for the last few years, with this contest being his first one in 2.5 years. One thing we can likely count on is that he’ll rack up those punches, and unless Hernandez has completely shored up his defensive weaknesses, plenty of them will land. This fight will likely be an uphill battle, but it’s certainly winnable.
Anderson Silva, $7,600
What can we say about Anderson Silva that we don’t already know? The flashy style of the 45-year-old Brazilian has been a fan favorite for more than two decades. A BJJ black belt, Siva has historically relied on his outstanding striking that was born from that classic Muay Thai/Kickboxing background that so many Chute Boxe/Brazilian Top Team/Black House fighters embrace. He has always used his lanky frame to fight from range, launching lethal flying knees, head kicks, vicious elbows, punches from all angles—to say his striking is diverse is a massive understatement. And then there’s the knockouts—23 of them. With aging fighters, they say the last thing to go is power, so if we adhere to that theory, Silva is still a dangerous man, not to be taken lightly.
Alas, now we must get back to the more sobering aspects of Anderson Silva, and the ginormous elephant in the room is that he’s 45 years old. Human physiology loses to Father Time without fail. Father Time is undefeated, 1 zillion – 0. Silva has definitely lost quite a bit of speed, his chin isn’t as robust, and his head movement has slowed considerably, with plenty of shots finding their way to his chin more and more. His cardio has also seen better days, making him a candidate for our gas guzzlers list. I cannot say that I think Silva will win because I don’t think he will. What I can say is that there is always a chance a big haymaker or a big kick lands just right on the skull or the liver—wherever it may be—and he scores a pretty gnarly upset. But I certainly wouldn’t put the house on it.
Uriah Hall, $8,600
Uriah Hall has the unenviable task of likely handing a legend another loss. At 36 years of age, Hall is doing a great job of refining his skills and closing some holes in his defense, thanks to a 2019 move to Fortis MMA, one of the breakout training camps of the last 2-3 years. Hall packs power, both in his legs and hands, boasting 11 knockouts in his 15 wins. Currently, he’s on a two-fight win streak with the most recent being split-decision victory over Antonio Carlos Junior. In the past, Hall had a few instances of an IQ dump with poor decision making late in fights that led to losses, but we’ve not seen much of that currently, and the win over Carlos Junior was a breakout performance for him. Silva is, without a doubt, going to try to win, and there have been older men in combat sports that managed to score big wins well into their forties, but I can’t put much confidence in that. Hall would really have to drop the ball to lose this fight.
Bryce Mitchell, $8,500
Bryce Mitchell is an exciting, super aggressive grappler that’s been shaking up the featherweight division for the last year-and-a-half. The Arkansas native has nine big wins by submission and is undefeated overall. He’s not an active striker, or a particularly well-versed one, but his outstanding ground game helps balance the scales. He’s young and eager and will no doubt get better as he goes. His last fight, against Charles Rosa, was an absolute thrashing and showed how well he can hang with elite grapplers. Andre Fili ($7,700) is a tough, well-rounded jack-of-all-trades and is a very live dog in this contest. “Touchy” has excellent takedown defense, a very capable grappling game and good striking. The once-prevalent problem with Andre, though, is that he’s had some past instances of making really bad in-fight decisions that led to losses where he was clearly winning (see Michael Johnson fight), but he seems to be on the path to intellectual elevation these days, so it’s not as worrisome as it once was. And while Fili’s submission stylings are good, Mitchell’s are better. That’s not to say Mitchell getting the win is guaranteed, because it’s not. What I will acknowledge is if anyone on this card were a “lock” to get a submission, I’d wager it would be Mitchell. This is my early pick for fight of the night.
Kevin Holland, $8,200
Kevin Holland has been such a treat to watch this year. Always exciting, whether it be some wild knockout or a thrilling split-decision (see Darren Stewart fight), Holland brings it every time he steps into the cage, and he leaves it all there. Kevin is another low-end volume striker who averages 4.69 strikes per minute, but his defense isn’t like most athletes that throw aplenty—he actually guards himself well and only absorbs 2.85 shots/minute. He packs power and has logged nine knockouts to date. He’s a very serviceable grappler with six submission wins. He carries the confidence of a man on a three-fight win streak, and finally, he’s fighting a super late notice opponent (48 hours notice). I almost forgot to mention what an effective counter striker he is and how very crafty he is to only have been fighting for five years. Holland’s new opponent, Charlie Ontiveros, is a regional level talent who’s logged losses against Michael Page (Bellator) and Geoff Neal (LFC) among others (he has six total losses), so I would imagine that “Trailblazer” won’t have much trouble dispatching his new foe to the loser’s brigade.
Sean Strickland, $9,100
Sean Strickland is a well-rounded talent that is finally making his way up to 185 pounds after a career at welterweight where he was, in my humble opinion, making dangerous weight cuts that came at a cost to his cardio. Now, he’s right where he’s supposed to be, with a great striking game, lots of power and super grappling chops. His wrestling will likely be the downfall of Marshman, but one must never count the Welshman out, as Strickland has been finished before. Strickland isn’t what you’d calla traditional volume striker, but he is active, landing around 4.34 strikes per minute. He does take some to give some, though, and absorbs very nearly as much as he lands (3.62 shots/minute). Jack Marshman will make for a fun fight, but this is almost certainly Strickland’s fight to lose.
Numbers to note: Nine knockouts, Four submissions, and two years and three days will have elapsed since his last fight.
*Bobby Green, $9,000
Anderson Silva, $7,600
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