MMA Odds and Ends for Friday: Hall Faces Natal At UFC 187

Hall-Uriah-TUF17-1-hs Uriah Hall’s next fight is booked, but it’s not exactly the matchup anyone was expecting. The UFC announced Thursday that Hall, fresh off of a TKO victory over Ronald Stallings at UFC Fight Night 59, is set to take on veteran middleweight Rafael Natal at UFC 187, which takes place May 23 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. On a stacked card featuring two UFC title fights, it’s very likely Hall vs. Natal will be a part of the FS1-televised prelims. This is an OK fight but not really one I was expecting, and not really one that I’m looking forward to that much, to be honest. I’m just really confused by the matchmaking here. Hall was supposed to fight Costas Philippou at UFC Fight Night 59 until Philippou pulled out of the fight with an injury just a few weeks before the fight. After Hall took out Stallings in dominant fashion, he called out Philippou once again and I was fully expecting the UFC to book this grudge match, but instead the promotion decided to go another route, matching up Philippou with top-ranked Gegard Mousasi at UFC Fight Night 66 and giving Hall a date with lower-ranked Natal at UFC 187. It’s just strange because there’s really no reason the UFC couldn’t have booked the Philippou vs. Hall grudge match if they weren’t planning on giving Hall a better opponent. That’s no disrespect to Natal, who looked very solid in his UFC 183 victory over Tom Watson, but Natal isn’t really a name and I figured the UFC would want to give Hall more of a star opponent so they could put him back on the fast track to the top 10. Instead, fans get Mousasi vs. Philippou, which is a solid scrap regardless, and Hall vs. Natal, which like I said before is just an OK fight but not one that excites me in any way. Not to say this fight is a walk in the part for Hall — Natal is definitely a game opponent and I expect a pretty competitive bout — but this is a fight Hall is expected to win decisively, unlike the Philippou fight which would have have a pure Pick ’em. As far as the line between Hall and Natal goes, look for Hall to be a solid favorite here once again, likely in the -250 to -300 range, as he looks to continue his winning ways and finally reach the potential expected of him after running through the TUF 17 house in dominating fashion.

Written by Adam Martin.

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