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A Legend Says Goodbye

One of the greatest fighters of all time will walk away from MMA this Saturday as former middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva takes on Uriah “Primetime” Hall.

Silva, arguably the greatest fighter of all time, will be making the walk to the UFC octagon one final time. Silva made his UFC debut back in 2006, demolishing Chris Leben in just under a minute to win his UFC debut. This would mark a legendary run as Silva captured the UFC middleweight belt in his next fight against Rich Franklin. Silva defended his middleweight belt 10 times.

Silva’s most intense rivalry came against Chael Sonnen. Sonnen trashed talked and disrespected Silva in ways no one ever has. When it came time to fight, Sonnen delivered. Sonnen would take Silva down and control him on the ground for the duration of four rounds. Going into the fifth round, Silva knew he needed a finish, and after getting taken down again, Silva submitted Sonnen with a triangle choke a little over three minutes into the fifth round. The two would rematch almost two years later, with Silva TKO’ing Sonnen in the second.

Silva’s legendary title run ended at the hands of Chris Weidman in 2013 when Silva kept messing with Weidman during the fight. Not taking Weidman serious resulted in Silva getting knocked out in the second round. The two had a rematch later that year that resulted in Silva’s leg snapping when he threw a leg kick that was checked by Weidman.

Silva returned two years later against Nick Diaz and won by unanimous decision, but the decision was overturned once Silva tested positive for PEDs. Silva has only won one fight since losing his belt back in 2013, going 1-6-1.

Despite the disappointing results, Silva is still a legend in the sport - he was a superstar when the UFC needed one and carried them out of dark times. Fans from all over the world tuned in to see what spectacular thing Silva would do in each of his fights, and Silva always delivered. With Silva saying this is his last fight, expect the legendary fighter to return to his roots for one final victory.

Hall, currently ranked No.10, is currently riding a two-fight win streak with a knockout over Bevon Lewis and a split decision win over Antonio Carlos Jr. Hall first grabbed fan’s attention when he was on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17, knocking out Adam Cella with a vicious spinning hook kick to the head. UFC president Dana White said that was the most vicious knockout in “The Ultimate Fighter” history.

Hall ultimately lost in the finals at the Ultimate Fighter 17 finale that saw Kelvin Gastelum edge a very close split decision. Hall had a lot of hype to live up to, with many spectators deeming him “the next Anderson Silva” and a future title challenger.

Hall hasn’t lived up to the hype, but always puts on a show for the fans. Hall was bullied as a kid, and got beat up so bad, he even contemplated suicide. His mother put him in a martial arts training center that saved his life and made him the great fighter he is today. Hall is a knockout artist with heavy hands and brutal kicks that can put his opponents out at any point during the fight. Hall will need to set the pace against Silva and fight smart. Although Hall is 36, he feels the best is yet to come and believes a title run will happen with a victory over Silva.

This is a great fight for both men at this stage in their careers. Hall is looking to finally go on a title run, and Silva is looking to prove he can still hang with the best. Even though it would be a feel-good moment for Silva to win his last fight, I’m picking Hall to win by decision. Catch all of the amazing fights this Saturday on ESPN+!

Tidwell pick record: 6-6

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