Uriah Hall went into the second round, but perhaps it’s more accurate to explain it this way: Uriah Hall’s opponent made it beyond the first round on Tuesday night’s semifinal of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Hall, a mixed martial artist who emigrated to Queens from the island of Jamaica when he was a teenager, built up quite a reputation of devastating knockouts on this season’s show. First, it was a spinning heel kick that dropped Adam Cella in the half-blink of an eye in the preliminary round. Then, it was a one-punch knockout in what was essentially a two-strike fight for Hall as he floored Bubba McDaniel in the opening 15 seconds of their quarterfinal fight.
Next up: Dylan Andrews in the semifinals, a fight that took place a few months ago but aired Tuesday night. (The show is taped in advance and aired on FX over the course of three months.)
Andrews lasted longer than anyone else did against Hall. Heck, he nearly even made it to the judges’ cards, which presumably would have been in favor of Hall seeing how Andrews spent nearly 10 minutes getting punched in the face.
But again, Hall surprised everyone in attendance at the UFC Training Center in Las Vegas. Although this time it came in the form of an impressive display on the ground rather than an Internet-igniting knockout strike.
Andrews took down Hall with 2:24 left in the second round. But as Andrews slammed Hall to the canvas, Hall landed in a way that put him a position to go for a kimura submission attempt.
Andrews fended it off and landed several dozen shots to Hall’s rib cage over the next 115 seconds.
With 29 seconds left, Hall gave up on the armlock and rolled to his back to face Andrews. With Andrews in top control, Hall got leverage when he placed his feet on Andrews’ hips. Hall landed a series of strikes from his back and then used this body leverage to sweep Andrews onto his back. Now in full mount, Hall threw shot and after shot until referee Steve Mazzagatti had to step in and stop the fight with 12 seconds left.
"I couldn't really pull out of the kimura, I was stuck," said Hall, who told Newsday he hurt his right arm in a training session prior to the fight. "I was like, I gotta do something. What can I do? I figured, all right, let me just posture up and hit him."
So he did.
Hall, 28, will fight Kelvin Gastelum in the Season 17 Ultimate Finale this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The fight card, headlined by Urijah Faber vs. Scott Jorgensen, airs on FX beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
"As a striker, one of my biggest weaknesses was fighting wrestlers because those guys would take me down and I'd freak out," Hall said. "I've been working on using my attributes wherever position I am."