On July 13th, the UFC will be holding an event in South Dakota for the very first time inside the 12,000–capacity Denny Sanford Premier Center.
UFC Fight Night 91 is headlined by the sure-fire barnstormer of fight that is Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Chiesa, and Sioux Falls is being welcomed to the UFC fold with open arms.
The headliner has serious implications in the UFC’s lightweight division with Ferguson riding an impressive winning streak and Chiesa coming off a stirring underdog victory over Beneil Dariush. Both men also happen to be winners of their respective seasons of The Ultimate Fighter for an additional angle for what has all the makings of a great fight.
To add to those two aforementioned TUF winners, Ryan Hall has been thrown into the mix and will be taking on fellow American Alex White.
With a record of 5-1, Hall will be fighting in the Octagon for the first time since winning season 22 of the show—beating Russian-born Irishman Artem Lobov by unanimous decision.
While the win which earned him his TUF winner’s glass, it wasn’t exactly the most enthralling of contests we’ve ever seen with a dominant Hall doing his utmost to nullify Lobov’s striking-heavy attack, that was Hall’s fifth win in a row and had finished his previous four bouts by either submission or TKO.
It’s also worth noting Hall is a natural featherweight and will be returning to his preferred weight class in July after winning his TUF season as a lightweight.
Hall is an accomplished, world-renowned grappler as showcased on his season of TUF which saw him defeat two opponents via heel hook from the 50-50 guard he innovated. Hall has medalled in the ADCC, the Mundials and in the Gracie Jiu Jitsu World Championships.
His opponent, White, has split his wins and losses in the UFC so far in his career with a 2-2 record during his time with the promotion. But, White is yet to be submitted so it’s almost certain Hall will be looking to put a stop to that.
Both White and Hall have an opponent in common with each other—the aforementioned Lobov. White’s latest outing in the Octagon was also against Lobov—a fight which also saw White emerge victorious with a unanimous decision victory like his future adversary.
White was coming of an arduous 14-month layoff with injury before that fight and expertly avoided Lobov’s power by staying out of range and picking his opponent off with a solid jab and some precise flurries of strikes—leaving Lobov visibly frustrated much like he was in the TUF finale against Hall.
Hall may have made an impact through the medium of reality TV. But, White made a big impact of his own when he was first introduced as a UFC fighter. It took less than 90 seconds for White to earn a UFC win on his debut—knocking out Estevan Payan and earning himself a Performance of the Night bonus in the process.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s first ever UFC show is littered with TUF winners—two of which are sure to put on a show against one another in the headliner. Then there’s the co-main event in John Lineker vs. Michael McDonald which is another tremendous fight on paper. To top it all off, local lads Devin Clark and Ben Nguyen will be fighting in their hometown to get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy. With Hall and White now added into the mix, it would appear that the UFC are taking this dip into new US territory very seriously.
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