John “Doomsday” Howard made his way back to the Octagon on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 26, after two years and six victories outside of the promotion. The former welterweight looked to re-establish himself at middleweight by defeating The Ultimate Fighter 17 runner-up Uriah Hall at the TD Garden in Boston.
Hall wouldn’t make it easy for him though.
Hall immediately showed a new wrinkle in his game, shooting and taking Howard down at the beginning of the fight. After mounting little offense on the mat, Hall allowed Howard back to his feet and used his reach advantage to establish his jab.
Howard, however, fought his way back, landing some stinging leg kicks and power punch combinations.
The pace slowed in round two, Howard now stalking Hall, and swinging for the fences, forcing Hall into a counter-fighting role.
Again, Howard got things going in the latter portion of the round, landing some of his power strikes. He scored a takedown with about a minute to go and ground and pounded Hall until the horn.
Hall tried again in the final round to take Howard down, but Doomsday was ready, stuffing him at every turn. Howard kept control, pressing the fight, again forcing Hall to try and counter his attacks.
The TUF runner-up wouldn’t give up though, eventually securing a takedown, although they returned to their feet with less than a minute left in the fight.
Neither took any real risks in the waning moments, although Howard made a last ditch flying superman punch attempt to a downed Hall. He missed with the punch, but walked out of the Octagon with a victory, earning the split decision nod from Boston’s judges.
Howard was a welterweight in his past UFC tenure, but has now established himself in the middleweight division, improving his overall record to 20-8 with the victory over Hall.
One of the favored fighter on The Ultimate Fighter, Hall lost in the finale and now to Howard, and finds himself searching for a way to get on track.
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