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Uriah Hall has won four fights in a row. Sean Strickland has won four fights in a row. On Saturday night, they meet to determine whose momentum will be supercharged.

Hall (17-9) has been at center stage under the bright lights before. This weekend’s middleweight fight at the Apex in Las Vegas will be the third UFC main event for the 36-year-old New Yorker by way of Spanish Town, Jamaica. His last two wins have come against high-profile former champions, Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva.

Even before he was on the UFC roster, Hall was drawing attention to himself. Back in 2013, while competing on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, he announced his presence with a spinning wheel-kick knockout, one of the most stunning finishes in the 16-year history of the reality TV show.

Hall ended the season as runnerup, dropping the finale to Kelvin Gastelum. But Hall was offered a UFC contract anyway, and once in the big show, he continued to produce highlights. Although there have been had ups and downs along the way, seven of Hall’s last eight victories have come via knockout.

Strickland (23-3) is on a similarly successful trajectory, though quieter and perhaps more in need of an eye-opening performance. The 30-year-old from Corona, California, is a first-time UFC headliner, and he has a matter-of-fact way about him that does not draw a lot of attention. His fights just produce a steady stream of violence. Strickland has lost just twice since 2015, and one of the defeats came against an on-his-way-to-a-championship Kamaru Usman.

Strickland is hitting his stride and poised to make his presence known. The stage is all his. Or is it Hall’s? We’ll find out on Saturday.

The fights are on ESPN and ESPN+, with the main card starting at 9 p.m. ET and the prelims at 6 p.m.


By the numbers

8: Knockouts in the UFC by Hall, tying him with former champion Anderson Silva and Thiago Santos for the most in middleweight history. Hall also is tied for the fifth most KOs among all UFC fighters since his 2013 debut.

4-0: Strickland’s record as a UFC middleweight. He previously was 5-3 as a welterweight and also won one catchweight bout.

51: Percentage of significant strike attempts on which Hall has found his target. That is the sixth-highest striking accuracy among active UFC middleweights (minimum five fights and 350 attempts). Paulo Costa is the leader at 57.3%.

68: Percentage of opponents’ significant strike attempts that Strickland has avoided. It is the fifth-highest defensive rate among active UFC fighters (five fights, 350 attempts). Nasrat Haqparast is No. 1 at 74.5%.

8 of 9: Fights, among his most recent appearances, in which Hall (+175) has been a betting underdog. He is 5-3 as an underdog, including three straight wins. Strickland (-210), meanwhile, is 5-1 as a favorite in the UFC.

Sources: ESPN Stats & Information and UFC Stats

Five vs. five

Uriah Hall’s most recent results
Win: Chris Weidman (TKO1, April 24, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Anderson Silva (TKO4, Oct. 31, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Antônio Carlos Júnior (SD, Sept. 14, 2019; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Bevon Lewis (KO3, Dec. 29, 2018)
Loss: Paulo Costa (TKO2, July 7, 2018)

Sean Strickland’s most recent results
Win: Krzysztof Jotko (UD, May 1, 2021; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Brendan Allen (TKO2, Nov. 14, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Jack Marshman (UD),Oct. 31, 2020; watch on ESPN+)
Win: Nordine Taleb (TKO2, Oct. 27, 2018)
Loss: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (KO1, May 12, 2018)

And the winner is …

“Strickland is a tough draw for anyone,” said Marc Montoya, Factory X MMA coach. “Hall has had his ups and downs. He’s looked good since he moved to Fortis MMA. I think that mentally, he and [Fortis MMA coach Sayif Saud] connect really well. I think he has a new swag about him. He’s always been talented. But Strickland won’t go away. He’ll talk s— to you. You can even hit him and he’ll still come forward, and that’s a tough opponent to deal with.”

Check out how Montoya and other experts break down the main event and predict a winner.


How to watch the fights

Watch on ESPN or ESPN+. Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV schedule

Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access. Don’t have ESPN+? Get it here.

There’s also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.


Saturday’s fight card

ESPN/ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET
Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland | Middleweight
Kyung Ho Kang vs. Rani Yahya | Men’s bantamweight
Cheyanne Buys vs. Gloria de Paula | Strawweight
Jared Gooden vs. Niklas Stolze | Welterweight
Zarrukh Adashev vs. Ryan Benoit | Men’s flyweight
Bryan Barberena vs. Jason Witt | Welterweight
ESPN/ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET
Wu Yanan vs. Nicco Montaño | Women’s bantamweight
Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Collin Anglin | Men’s featherweight
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Rafa Garcia | Lightweight
Danny Chavez vs. Kai Kamaka | Men’s featherweight
Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Yoder | Strawweight
Ronnie Lawrence vs. Trevin Jones | Men’s bantamweight
Phil Rowe vs. Orion Cosce | Welterweight


Four more things you should know (from ESPN Stats & Info)

1. Rani Yahya, who faces Kyung Ho Kang in the co-main event, has six submissions at bantamweight in the UFC, tied for most in division history. Kang has been submitted just once in 27 career fights, and he has spent 50 minutes and 29 seconds in top position, the most in UFC bantamweight history. Yahya has the division’s second-most time spent on top (41:00).

2. Bryan Barberena lands 5.5 strikes per minute, the fifth-highest rate in UFC welterweight history (minimum five fights). He faces Jason Witt, who has been knocked out in five of his seven losses.

3. The Ultimate Fighter is represented not only by main eventer Uriah Hall, the Season 17 runnerup, but also by TUF 26 winner Nicco Montaño. The first women’s flyweight champion in UFC history, Montaño is now a bantamweight. She faces Wu Yanan in her first fight since a loss to upcoming title challenger Julianna Peña in July 2019.

4. In the opening fight of the card, Orion Cosce makes his UFC debut, following in the footsteps of his brother Louis, who debuted in November 2020. The Cosce brothers join such tandems as the Diazes (Nick and Nate), Nogueiras (Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio) and Shevchenkos (Valentina and Antonina) as siblings to both fight in the Octagon.

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

The Colorado Rockies placed left-hander Kyle Freeland on the 15-day injured list Friday with a left elbow strain.

The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

Freeland appeared to injure his right shoulder while attempting to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Bud Black, however, said Freeland was “fine” after the game.

Freeland, 30, has limped to a 0-3 record with a 13.21 ERA in four games (all starts) this season. He is 55-68 with a 4.53 ERA in 188 career games (183 starts) with the Rockies.

Also on Friday, Colorado recalled right-hander Noah Davis from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Davis, 26, owns a 0-2 record with a 6.62 ERA in four games (all starts) with the Isotopes. He is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in nine career games (six starts) with the Rockies.

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider began to feel discomfort in his right elbow in spring training but didn’t realize the severity of the injury until learning he needed season-ending surgery.

Strider said he had a bone fragment develop following Tommy John surgery in 2019 that caused the ulnar collateral ligament to become unstable. Strider also said he did not have a tear that required a second Tommy John surgery and he instead had an internal brace procedure, perhaps giving him a better opportunity to recover for the start of the 2025 season.

Strider finally complained about the issue after pitching four innings in Atlanta’s 6-5 win over Arizona on April 5.

“You’re not going to feel good when you’re playing baseball every day,” Strider said Friday while standing in front of his locker in his first news conference since the surgery. “So I’m not searching for that. You know, like I said, I’m going to pitch through anything if I feel like I can help the team and I felt like I couldn’t do that anymore, so I thought it’s time to say something.”

An MRI the next day revealed damage to his UCL. Texas Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the procedure on April 13.

“They’re theorizing that I tore some connective tissue … and that’s what destabilized the ligament,” Strider said. “And maybe I blew through the last of that on that game and things deteriorated pretty quickly throughout the outing.”

Strider was Atlanta’s No. 1 starting pitcher after going 20-5 with 281 strikeouts in last year, when he led the major leagues in wins and strikeouts.

With his right arm immobilized in a sling, Strider said he will look for ways to support his teammates.

“These guys don’t don’t need me to to win a World Series,” he said. “So you know they’re going to pursue that journey. I’ll be here here to cheer them on.”

Replacing Strider will be a challenge.

Right-hander Allan Winans allowed seven runs — six earned — over five innings in a 16-15 loss to the New York Mets on April 11 and was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after the game.

Right-hander Darius Vines had more success, allowing one run and four hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-1 win at Houston on Monday. Vines is scheduled to make his second start of the season on Sunday night against Texas.

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D-backs’ Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

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D-backs' Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

The Arizona Diamondbacks placed right-hander Ryne Nelson on the 15-day injured list Friday because of an elbow contusion suffered the previous night.

Nelson was hit on the right arm by a line drive off the bat of the San Francisco GiantsMike Yastrzemski during the second inning of his start Thursday night.

The team recalled outfielder Pavin Smith from Triple-A Reno in the corresponding roster move.

Smith, a first-round pick (seventh overall) of the Diamondbacks in 2017, hit .188 (36-for-191) in 69 games with Arizona last season, dropping his average to .240 in his four big-league seasons. He has 28 home runs and 116 RBIs in 391 games.

The Diamondbacks also designated infielder Jace Peterson for assignment. Peterson had only one hit in 22 at-bats for Arizona this season and hit .183 (17-for-93) through 41 games with the Diamondbacks in 2023.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.

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