UFC Belfast What Happens Now?
When Uriah Hall finished Gegard Mousasi on September 27th 2015, the public’s perceptions of both men changed in an instant. As the stunned Saitama Super Arena crowd roared in a way only a Japanese crowd could, Hall had gone from a flashy striker with potential to a legitimate contender in a matter of moments.
On the other hand, Mousasi had gone from a durable, progressing contender to a fighter with thwarted momentum that had just been finished. Fast forward less than fourteen months later and incredibly, both fighters have in many ways reverted back to the way they were previously perceived heading into that first fight.
Following the huge win Hall would replace Michael Bisping and step in to fight Robert Whittaker in Australia less than two months following the knockout victory. Hall would have his moments but it was Whittaker that mostly controlled the action, winning a clear decision and slightly damaging Hall’s contender status.
Mousasi would return three months later, comprehensively outpointing Thales Leites in a way that current champion Michael Bisping couldn’t. He’d fight again before Hall’s next bout too, as Hall was kept out of action due to a fight with Anderson Silva falling through. Regardless, Mousasi would win his fight, vanquishing Thiago Santos in violent fashion at UFC 200.
With just two fights Mousasi had righted the ship and got back in the win column, he was riding a two-fight win streak. He was once again a contender. Two months later, Hall finally stepped back into the octagon, taking on rising finisher Derek Brunson. After less than two minutes of action, Hall would be clipped and dropped by the aggressive Brunson, seconds later and the fight was stopped.
Uriah Hall Goes on a Downward trajectory
Suddenly, Hall was on a two-fight slump, the shine of that incredible Mousasi victory had gone and with it, Hall’s spot as a top contender, for now at least. Mousasi’s contender status was only strengthening though and that progression would continue at UFC 204 when he finally fought Vitor Belfort in a long-awaited clash of Middleweight veterans.
As usual, Belfort would be dangerous early, using his trademark flurries to earn the respect of the unflustered Mousasi. After applying consistent pressure, Mousasi eventually got the breakthrough, stunning Belfort with a brutal head-kick before battering him on the ground to force a merciful referee stoppage.
It was another example of Mousasi’s unflappable and relaxed temperament leading him to success as he refused to give the still dangerous Belfort any chance. Three fights after suffering his only TKO loss, Mousasi was now in the best form of his UFC run. Just a couple of weeks later and a cancellation to the original UFC Belfast main event left the UFC without a headline fight, Mousasi and Hall would step forward and suddenly, the rematch was booked.
Though this Mousasi Hall rematch wasn’t on the radar just a month ago, it’s now only days away and honestly, it makes perfect sense for both. Hall has a chance to repeat his prior feat and restart his momentum in the best way, by simply redoing what he did to start it in the first place. For Mousasi, it’s the chance to stay active and get paid but more than that, it’s a shot at redemption.
Mousasi controlled the opening round of that first fight and has enough evidence to suggest that he can redeem himself, erase his only stoppage loss and continue his run to a title shot. Time will tell who will be proven right this Saturday in Belfast but one thing is for sure, lots have changed in just over a year for both men, will the key be Mousasi’s momentum or Hall’s prior victory? Will it be repeat or revenge?