Chris Leben may have lost three straight fights and has just one win in his last five bouts, but not surprisingly, the feared slugger doesn’t appear to be short on confidence heading into UFC 168. Tomorrow night, Leben will take on middleweight Uriah Hall, who after dropping countless jaws during TUF 17 with a series of vicious stoppages, has failed to match the hype in his first official UFC bouts.
So, what does Leben think of Hall’s feared striking game? Which scored some highlight reel wins during TUF 17, but none since? While speaking to UFC.com recently, here’s what the 33 year-old fighter had to say:
“He (Hall) is really athletic, he’s got fancy moves, but in his last couple he’s failed to pull the trigger,” Leben. “In the fights I’ve watched, he threw some pretty heavy, pretty exciting stuff, but if that stuff doesn’t land, he kind of runs out of options. It seems like the fancy stuff is really the only option that he has, and it’s hard when that’s the only thing in your bag of tricks. So I feel like this guy gets beat with basics and with going out there and making him fight a regular, dirty, grimy kind of fight.”
There’s no doubt that Hall can throw some “exciting stuff”, but in his bouts with Kelvin Gastelum and John Howard, he failed to inflict much damage and lost both by split decision.
So, it will be interesting to see what wins out: Hall’s agility and vaunted striking game? Or Leben’s chin and sledgehammer left hand?
The middleweight also relayed in the interview that he started his camp early at Alliance MMA, and that he’s in much better shape than last time out. It will be interesting to see how Leben looks, in what is almost certainly a must-win situation.
UFC 168 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vega, Nevada.