Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist Ryan Hall is, yet again, booked for his return to UFC action. After he was twice scheduled to fight in 2020 and both fights fell through, Hall is now set for a March 13 showdown with fellow UFC featherweight Dan Ige. BJPenn.com first reported the fight.
Even with his relatively thin 8-1 professional record, Hall’s unique grappling skillset has made it difficult for him to find willing opponents in the UFC. After competing on The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 in 2015, Hall has since fought just three times, earning three wins. He last fought in July 2019, winning a unanimous decision over veteran Darren Elkins. In 2020, Hall was twice booked against former UFC featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas, but injuries and complications related to the global coronavirus pandemic stopped the fight from coming together.
Against Ige, Hall will not only have to deal with the ring rust of 20-month lay-off, but also a talented and dangerous opponent. A black belt himself, Ige is currently ranked no. 11 in the UFC’s featherweight division and has won six of his last seven bouts. Ige last competed in July 2020, dropping a five-round decision to Calvin Kattar.
Hall has had mixed results implementing his full BJJ game in MMA, but the three UFC wins speak for themselves. Even when Hall has been unable to bring the fight to the mat, the mere threat of his submission attack has often been enough to force his opponents into passivity. In his lone UFC submission win, Hall quickly latched onto former champion BJ Penn’s leg, securing a heel hook in under three minutes.
How will Hall deal with a step up in competition, and how will he look following a serious lay-off? Will Ige, who is more than capable on the mat, engage in Hall’s game, or will he keep the fight at range and on the feet?