UFC 264: Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall Preview

Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 12: Ryan Hall poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-ins at Golden 1 Center on July 12, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC 264 will take place this Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena, located in Las Vegas, Nevada. And on it, is the featherweight bout of Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall.

The event will be headlined by Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, as they are set for the rubber match in their historic rivalry. The co-main event of the evening is a welterweight clash between Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and Gilbert “Durinho” Burns. Those are the two most notable fights of the card, however, the Hall and Topuria bout is flying under the radar.

The featherweight division has not seen the influx of contenders it once appeared to have. With the notable absences of Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov, combined with the knee injury to Josh Emmett, three of the top 10 at 145lbs have been out of competition for quite some time. Ryan Hall has also spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines. Hall returns to the Octagon after a two-year hiatus.

The Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall bout should give the winner his first official UFC ranking

Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall

Ilia Topuria is a highly regarded prospect at 145lbs. He holds an undefeated record at 10-0, with two wins in the UFC. “El Matador” made his UFC debut on Fight Island after an emphatic victory at Brave CF. He defeated Youssef Zalal by unanimous decision, then he stopped Damon Jackson back in December. Topuria owns multiple submission victories in his professional career, but he has not faced someone with the pedigree of Hall. 

Ryan Hall is 8-1 as a professional and is 4-0 inside the UFC. He has two wins over former lightweight champions, BJ Penn and Gray Maynard. Hall is also the Ultimate Fighter Season 22 winner.  Viewed as one of the best grapplers in the division, Hall has won multiple gold medals at various BJJ tournaments. 

UFC 264 Betting Odds

As it stands right now, Ilia Topuria is the betting favorite in their matchup as he sits at -250 on Fanduel Sportsbook. Hall is at +198. If you like Ryan Hall as a live underdog and really want to up the ante, Hall by points is +500 and Hall by submission is +650. Topuria rarely goes the distance and the odds for Topuria within rounds 1 and 2 are enticing. “El Matador” is +300 to win inside the opening five minutes and +600 in round 2.

Predictions 

Stylistically, this is one of the best fights on the UFC 264 card. Ryan “The Wizard” Hall is a terrible matchup for anyone in the featherweight division. His grappling ability will make this fight intriguing from the opening bell. If Hall is able to get the fight to the ground, he should have the advantage even with Topuria’s background in BJJ. However, on the feet, Topuria should be able to win the striking exchanges. He will have to defend the prominent imanari roll from Hall, but if he can keep the fight at a kickboxing range, Topuria is the superior striker. Topuria by 2nd Round TKO.  

Ramifications

With no date set for the featherweight title to be defended and with the recent withdrawal of a high-profile matchup, the 145lb division still appears to be stagnant going into the second half of 2021. A top 10 matchup is currently being discussed between Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze. If that fight does come to fruition, that could be a good indicator of a future title contender.

Hall and Topuria are on the outside looking in. Neither fighter is ranked inside the top 15, but take that with a grain of salt. The winner definitely has a case to be alongside the next tier of featherweights. How do you think this Ilia Topuria vs Ryan Hall matchup plays out? Are you rolling with Topuria or do you think “The Wizard” can pull off some more of his tricks at UFC 264?

 

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