Saturday, November 19th, 2016 in Belfast, Ireland for UFC Fight Night 99: “Mousasi vs Hall 2” by Daniel Tom

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Gegard Mousasi (40-6-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’1″ Age: 31 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Vitor Belfort (10-8-16)
  • Camp: Red Devil International (Netherlands)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Former Strikeforce & Dream Champion
+   Amateur Boxing Champion
+   8-0 as a Pro Kickboxer
+   Black Belt Judo
+   23 KO victories
+   10 Submission wins
+   29 first round finishes
+   Manages distance well
+   Active & accurate jab
+   Solid defensive fundamentals
+   Underrated Wrestling ability
^   Well-timed reactive shot
+   Good ground strikes and submissions
+   Crafty guard retentions & sweeps

Uriah Hall (12-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’0″ Age: 32 Weight: 185 lbs Reach: 79.5″
  • Last Fight: TKO loss / Derek Brunson (9-17-16)
  • Camp: Team Tiger Shulmann (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 17 Finalist
+   2x Ring of Combat Champion
+   Regional Muay Thai Titles
+   10 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Fast hands & feet
^   Counters & reads well
+   Dynamic kicking arsenal
^   Accurate/deadly spinning attacks
+   Underrated Grappling ability
^   Strong defensive instincts
+   74% Takedown defense


The main event in Belfast is a rematch in the middleweight division as Gegard Mousasi meets Uriah Hall for the second time. Turning a new leaf since his defeat to Hall in September of last year, Gegard Mousasi will now seek redemption for a loss that he considers a fluke. Out to prove him and the oddsmakers wrong, Uriah Hall will look to show he is not a one-trick pony in this showcase spot.

Considering the fashion of defeat Mousasi suffered, Uriah Hall may have an inherent mental edge coming into this fight. However, Hall has struggled since their last meeting–dropping his last two fights in comparison to Mousasi’s three straight victories. Not only has Gegard had more success since their first bout, but he also shed his skin as Mousasi is much more outspoken and honest. This evolution of Mousasi’s mentality has also translated into his fighting game as the Dutchman is visibly more aggressive in his approach. The once listless and lackadaisical expressions of Mousasi would now be a look of disdain as he carried out his objectives in his last three fights.

Although this marriage of aggression and technical-sharpness may serve Mousasi well in this match, the Dutchman will still be playing with fire whenever engaging Hall. Despite often being associated with his dynamic striking offense, it is within the countering realm that Uriah makes his money. Whether it is the counter crosses we saw Hall utilize against Leben & Stallings or even his high-flying aerial assaults, it is Uriah’s ability to read and react that makes his game so special. We saw this in his first fight with Mousasi as he intercepted Gegard with a jump-spinning-sidekick off the smallest of tells.

Usually using more jabs and feints in his approach, Mousasi lacked the cover-fire to disguise his intentions as he changed levels for his attack. Given Gegard’s stance, he would naturally dip to his right side which is directly in the wheelhouse of Hall’s spinning assaults. Considering that a similar threat still looms in this rematch, it will be interesting to see what adjustments Mousasi will make. Since that fight, we have seen Gegard get back to utilizing feints to facilitate his jab and subsequent offense. I suspect he will continue that trend for this opponent as feints are fantastic for drawing out kicks and counters.

Seldom throwing himself out of position, Mousasi’s jab also serves as a solid launching point for level changes as the Dutchman hits reactive shots on the drop of a dime. Considering that it only took one takedown to earn Mousasi over 4-minutes and 30-seconds of control time in their first fight, the takedown will probably be Gegard’s best threat against Hall. Although Mousasi’s jab can dictate a fight, establishing it on Uriah may not be as easy as it seems. An excellent manager of distance himself, Hall uses his foot speed and lateral movement to make his opponent’s reach on their shots. Once successful in getting is opposition out of position, Uriah packs a precise counter cross that may see some light in this fight.

However, the danger with speed advantages is that Hall can be too dependent on his head and trunk movement when defending or moving away from strikes. Keeping low hands like many traditional martial artists, we have seen Hall get caught in his evasive efforts as he would circle out unprotected. Not only did this burn him in his last fight with Derek Brunson, but it also costed him his first professional loss to Chris Weidman early in his career. If this is something Hall has not addressed, then this may be an avenue Mousasi will look to exploit anytime he can corral Uriah along the fence.

Even though Mousasi’s punches are potent anytime his opponent is against the cage, his takedown game may fair better out in the open. Already possessing an excellent base and balance, Hall has shown improvements to his takedown defense from the cage. Should this fight hit the floor, it will likely be accomplished by one of Gegard’s aforementioned reactive shots. Although Mousasi should have a distinct advantage in ground fighting, Uriah proved in his last outing that he is no slouch defensively. Despite having limited success, I was impressed with Hall’s grip and positional awareness as he displayed small nods that showed he was keen to Gegard’s intentions.

Although Mousasi earned a massive amount of control time in that opening round, he would ultimately lose multiple opportunities on the floor due to the impatient nature he demonstrated in that fight. Unlike his bout before with Costas Philippou, Gegard lacked the usual staging for advancements as he looked to overcorrect his last performance with aggression. Hall, on the other hand, stayed poised and composed as he timed his bridges and explosions perfectly with Mousasi’s transitions. That said, Uriah failed to capitalize on those windows with any reversals or re-wrestling efforts as he was ultimately grounded for the rounds remainder.

With Mousasi seemingly hungry to make a point with his performances, I will be curious to see if the emotion of revenge gets the better of him here. Even though Hall is coming off of two disappointing performances, he is the type of fighter who is always dangerous, especially when his back is against the wall. Training with multiple camps in Las Vegas, Uriah is certainly making all the efforts he can to continue improving his game. However, it is the mental triggers that will remain the question for Hall until he can prove otherwise. Despite the outcome their first time around, I feel that Mousasi should still be a justifiable favorite. That said, the numbers on this line screams of a possible trap fight as I caution any heavy plays.

Official Pick: Mousasi – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Mousasi – TKO (round 1)

Ross Pearson (19-12)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 32 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Jorge Masvidal (7-3-16)
  • Camp: Alliance MMA (Australia/CA)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 9 Lightweight Winner
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   7 KO victories
+   5 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   Good slips & head movement
^   Looks to slip & counter
+   Accurate left hook
+   Excellent pocket awareness
^   Favors uppercuts off crouch
+   Improved takedown defense
^   Shows getup initiative & technique
+/-2-3 against UFC southpaws

Steven Ray (19-6)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 26 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / Alan Patrick (9-24-16)
  • Camp: Higher Level MMA (Scotland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Former BAMMA Lightweight Champ
+   Former Cage Warriors Lightweight Champ
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   6 KO victories
+   8 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   Accurate left cross
^   Heavy R. hook follow-ups
+   Hard left body kick
+   Solid top game
^   Strong shoulder pressure
+   Improved wrestling transitions
+   Effective ground striker
+   Good chin / physically durable


The co-main event in Belfast is a fireworks fight in the lightweight division as Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson battles Stevie “Braveheart” Ray. Coming off of a hard-fought two-fight skid, Ross Pearson will look to right his ship as he faces off with Scotland’s finest. A champion of both BAMMA and Cage Warriors, Stevie Ray has done his homeland proud as he has gone 3-1 since coming to the UFC. Suffering his last loss on the road in Brazil, Ray will now have a shorter trip for redemption as he enters Belfast hungry for the upset.

Even though I suspect that the majority of this fight with contest standing, I would not be surprised to see Stevie Ray attempt to ground Pearson as I believe he is the man with more motive to do so. Despite losing his last fight in the grappling department, Ray was facing a well-trained black belt in Alan Patrick who was able to play it smart positionally. Whatever struggles Stevie may or may not have from the bottom, the Scotsman does an excellent job when operating from the top position. Demonstrating a solid understanding of shoulder pressure for pinning and passing purposes, Ray is an effective smotherer who has shown improvements on transitioning with his strikes.

Should Stevie elect to take a page out of Even Dunham’s playbook, we may see Ray engage in grappling anytime he can corral Pearson to the cage. However, it will not be an easy task as Ross has excellent footwork and shows improved takedown defense. Even when taken down, Ross is a relentless scrambler and displays a good get-up urgency as I suspect most grappling stanzas will be brief. Given the takedown threat and pressuring approach of Ray, Pearson will likely elect to stick and move as he shown to do that more as his career has progressed.

Although the Scotsman should have a size and power edge over Ross, I feel that the Englishman will be more potent inside of the pocket, especially when looking at how these two line up. Often utilizing a crouch variation to set up his uppercuts and right hands, Pearson also possesses a precise left hook follow-up. Considering that Ray has a tendency to keep a low-lead hand or revert to a shell defense, Pearson’s uppercuts and left hooks to the head or body will be worth looking out for in this fight. However, Pearson will have things to look out for as well given the offense of Ray.

Even though Stevie does keep an aforementioned low-lead hand, he uses it to counter from deceptive angles as he wields a check hook that is in a similar spirit to Luke Rockhold’s. Utilizing it to counter effectively, Ross will need to be on his utmost awareness whenever entering the pocket to attack. Stevie also throws an excellent body kick that could see some light in this fight. Not only does Ray’s southpaw stance facilitate a nasty liver shot, but Pearson tends to dip to his right side which could further fuel the impact of kicks to his body, head, and arms.

Despite my soft spot for Scotland, I agree with the oddsmakers here in making Pearson a slight favorite. Even though Ross had a rough time out in his last bout, the Englishman has been one of the more consistent warriors in the UFC’s deepest division. Although the durable Scotsman will be a live threat throughout the contest, I suspect we will see Pearson take a competitive and entertaining decision on the scorecards.

Official Pick: Pearson- Decision

Official Outcome: Ray – Decision

Kyoji Horiguchi (17-2)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’5″ Age: 26 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Neil Seery (5-8-16)
  • Camp: American Top Team (Florida/Japan)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt Karate (2nd degree)
+   Multiple Shooto Titles
+   9 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   5 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Fast hand & foot speed
^   Superb blitzes & lateral movement
+   Solid pocket awareness
^   Moves head well
+   Dangerous left hook & switch kicks
+   Improved wrestling & scrambles
+   Devastating ground striker
^   Postures & positions well
+/-Keeps hands low

Ali Bagautinov (14-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 31 Weight: 125 lbs Reach: 65.5″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Geane Herrera (6-18-16)
  • Camp: Fight Nights Team (Dagestan, Russia)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Moderate

Supplemental info:
+   Master of Sports in Sambo & Wrestling
+   Multiple Combat Sambo Titles
+   5 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   6 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Dangerous cross-hook combo
^   Improved kicks on follow-up
+/-Aggressive in approach
^   Tends to headhunt
+   Strong clinch/clinch takedowns
+   Solid top game
^   Devastating ground striker
–    Traditionally open to body kicks
+   Good chin / never stopped


In a fun flyweight affair, Kyoji Horiguchi squares off against Ali Bagautinov. Despite losing to the champion early in his career, Kyoji Horiguchi is still widely regarded as one of the division’s few dark horses. Challenging for his top-5 spot is another former title challenger in Ali Bagautinov. Part of the Dagestani invasion that has gotten the attention of the MMA mainstream, Bagautinov will attempt another ascension to the top as a win here would make for a strong statement.

Starting off on the feet, we essentially have a dangerous power puncher in Bagautinov, who will be looking to land on an elusive Karate stylist in Horiguchi. Considering that both men tend to favor fighting on the outside to stage counters and blitzes, it will be interesting to see which man decides to lead. Although Ali has shown he is flexible enough to play the bull or the Matador, I do not believe he has the speed nor footwork to dictate this dance. Heavily emphasizing on power, Bagautinov tends to load up on his shots which may provide cues for the man with an inherent distance advantage.

Training in martial arts since the age of 5, Kyoji Horiguchi shows the preternatural understanding of combative ranges you only see from years of emersion. Effectively circling on the outside, Kyoji will masterfully blitz once finding an angle to his liking. What makes Horiguchi an above average Karate striker is his superb pocket awareness and lateral movement as I see this being a key factor in this fight. Rolling exceptionally well underneath hooks, Kyoji may have ample opportunities here given the looping nature of Bagautinov’s assaults. Incorporating rolls into his lateral exits, Kyoji will then look to plant and counter once getting under or offline of the oncoming punches.

Favoring a devastating left hook, Bagautinov will have to be especially mindful as he tends to retract his right-hand low. That said, the Dagestani’s counter right hand will be his most potent punch against the in-and-out aggression of Horiguchi. However, Ali has traditionally shown a body shot availability both at range and inside the clinch. Not only was Demetrious Johnson able to score with repeated success, but so was likes of John Lineker and Joseph Benavidez. Against the devastating body kicker in Kyoji, the Dagestani’s durability could be tested should a liver kick land. Where Bagautinov has the edge on paper, is within the submission fighting realm.

An accoladed Sambo practitioner, Ali is more than proven on the floor as the resilience displayed in his last fight shows he is not an easy man to handle. Should Horiguchi exercise his growing wrestling ability, he will need to be careful when engaging Bagautinov. Often relying on his athleticism, Kyoji has a tendency to give his neck on his takedown entries as this has gotten him caught in precarious Guillotine positions in 5 of his last 7-fights. Although Ali only has one official win by Guillotine choke, this will be something to worth watching for as I assure you that an opportunistic Bagautinov will not be shy.

That said, I feel that Ali will be the one looking for takedowns. Despite showing a solid reactive shot, Bagautinov prefers to make his money like most Dagestani fighters, inside the clinch. However, Ali may find both avenues of approach difficult considering how hard Horiguchi can be to catch. The Japanese fighter also demonstrates an excellent base and balance that makes him difficult to take down. Even if Ali is successful in getting him down, keeping him there presents another challenge as Kyoji possesses an explosive getup ability. Regardless, the Japanese fighter will need to mind himself whenever on the bottom as Ali is an aggressive ground striker.

If Horiguchi can make his way on top, he also presents potential problems for his Dagestani counterpart. Although not applying a typical grappling pressure topside, Kyoji shows a solid understanding of framing and positional awareness. From his subtle knee & foot placements to his overall hip positioning, Horiguchi will smoothly advance to a perfect cruising altitude that is appropriate for bomb dropping. The space given in this approach can usually allow for room & reactions to stand, but Ali will need to be careful in these transitions as Kyoji is a custom to punishing opponents on their way up and off of the breaks.

Although Ali is a dangerous opponent for anyone in the Top-10, I feel that this will be an unfavorable styles match for him as I see Horiguchi’s speed giving him problems. Ultimately, I feel good about Koji’s chances, especially that he has been spreading out his training to American Top Team. In a fight with back and forth potential on paper, I expect Horiguchi to take a clear decision, if not find a late finish.

Official Pick: Horiguchi – Decision

Official Outcome: Horiguchi – Decision

Main Card Predictions:

  • Mousasi def. Hall
  • Pearson def. Ray
  • Johnson def. Volkov
  • Ishihara def. Lobov

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • McCall def. Seery
  • Cedenblad def. Marshman
  • Horiguchi def. Bagautinov
  • *Lee def. Mustafaev
  • Cooper def. Elmose
  • Ledet def. Godbeer
  • Cummings def. Yakovlev
  • Reneau def. Dudieva
  • Kwak def. Johns
  • Alhassan def. Ward

Recommended Plays:

Draft Kings recommended rosters:


Team #1: $49,700.00

-Gegard Mousasi ($9,600.00)
-Teruto Ishihara ($8,900.00)
-Justin Ledet ($8,200.00)
-Timothy Johnson ($8,100.00)
-Kwan Ho Kwak ($7,500.00)
-Jack Marshman ($7,400.00)

Team Summary:

For my DraftKings recommended roster, I elected to go with Gegard Mousasi and Teruto Ishihara as my higher tier favorites. For the reasons stated in the breakdown above, I feel that Gegard Mousasi makes for a solid pick to earn you points with potential takedowns, ground strikes, and possibly even a finish. Secondly, I went with Teruto Ishihara as I feel his volume and variety will likely overwhelm Artem Lobov on the feet, with a possibility of finding the finish on the floor. As the 2nd highest scorer on the card with an 89-point average, Ishihara comes in at a steal for $8,900.00.

In my lower tier selections, I decided to go with Justin Ledet, Timothy Johnson, Kwan Ho Kwak, and Jack Marshman. Justin Ledet impressed me in his last outing as he displayed some serious boxing, unloading jab-cross continuums throughout the contest. He will have a willing dance partner in Goodbeer, as I see the Brit’s aggression getting the better of him in this all-action affair. For my second pick, I decided to once again dip into the heavyweight pool of point potential with my backing of Timothy Johnson. Although Volkov can be awkward to strike with and takedown, Johnson shows the durability and tools to turn the tide of this fight once he gets within clinching range. Once on the floor, I feel that Johnson can find a finish. And for the price of $8,100.00, I am willing to find out.

Despite being a bantamweight tasked with tough opposition, I elected to go with Kwan Ho Kwak as he has the potential to score an upset over Brett Johns. Although Johns is a threat standing and on the feet, Kwak’s composure coupled with his freakish athleticism and instincts could be the intangible factor in this potential knockdown drag’em out war. Despite officially picking Cedenblad, I went with Jack Marshman as my final roster selection. Although Cedenblad has more UFC experience and ways to win this fight, Marshman shows a solid striking game and fight ending power the could spring the upset. For the low price of $7,400.00, Marshman could make for a useful filler on a high-priced roster.

Props worth looking at(

-Ishihara Inside the distance: +101 (1 Unit)
-Ray/Pearson goes 3 rounds: -175 (1 Unit)
-Johnson Inside the distance: +287 (.25 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Teruto Ishihara
-Kyoji Horiguchi

Fights to avoid:

-Brett Johns vs Kwan Ho Kwak
-Anna Elmose vs Amanda Cooper
-Marion Reneau vs Milana Dudieva

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