UFC on ESPN 33
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

FSM Essential Preview: UFC on ESPN 33 – Hall vs Strickland



UFC on ESPN 33 will feature a middleweight showdown to see who takes the next step closer to earning a title shot.


UFC on ESPN 33
Photo Credit: YouTube

The UFC is back in action with a battle in the middleweight division as Uriah Hall (17-9 13 KOs) takes on Sean Strickland (23-9 10 KOs) in the main event from the UFC Apex center as these two gladiators look to take another step closer to standing across from the champion. With both fighters on their own four-fight win streaks, an impressive victory will get them closer to that reality.

Last week we saw the return of a former champion in the women’s ranks as Miesha Tate made her return to the octagon after a five-year retirement. This time around, another former champion returns, this time in the men’s ranks as TJ Dillashaw makes his long-awaited step back into action. Once regarded as the greatest Bantamweight in UFC history, TJ tried his hand at becoming a two-division champion by moving down to 125lbs to challenge then-champion Henry Cejudo. After a failed attempt, it was made know that TJ had also failed a drug test for a performance-enhancing drug, recombinant human erythropoietin ( EPO ).


UFC on ESPN 33
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Hit with a two-year suspension, Dillashaw will see his first action since January 2019. Looking to get back in the groove of things, to bring some respect back to his name, and to show that his legacy will be tarnished by a mistake but rather be one of triumph and redemption, TJ is looking to show that this is all behind him. He is still one of the best in the game regardless of his misguided decision. We can get into sports doping another time, but this is a chance for TJ to start back on the path to the title. It won’t be easy against one of the young, hungry monsters in the division, but that’s fighting in the UFC for you, no easy matchups.

These two warriors will do battle as the UFC returns for another card on ESPN Saturday night. Will Sandhagen continue his climb towards earring a title shot? Will the former champion be able to start the process of regaining his title? Can Sandhagen find an opening and land another highlight-reel finish? Will the aggressive come-forward style of TJ, who mixes in great footwork, head movement, and combinations, be too much and overwhelm his opponent, as we’ve seen before? Past meets present as these two gladiators due battle to see who moves on the Bantamweight division.


Here is how the rest of the UFC on ESPN 33 fight card shakes out


UFC on ESPN 33
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The UFC was forced to postpone the heavyweight matchup between Shamil Abdurakhimov and Chris Daukaus, ripping it from the UFC Vegas 33 co-main event. No official word yet on why; however, a positive COVID-19 test in the Abdurakhimov camp recently booted them from UFC Vegas 32, so it may be a case of being rebooked too quickly within the recovery window.

UFC Vegas 33 was also forced to cancel Sam Alvey vs. Roman Kopylov. Alvey revealed on his TikTok that Kopylov could not make it to the United States and that “Smile’N” Sam would fight a new opponent on Aug. 28, 2021.

You’ve spent the last 12 weeks of your life losing close to 40 pounds bleeding, sweating, crying, tearing up, breaking yourself, breaking other people, and just working your ass to the bone just to find out on your ride to the airport that your opponent who is Russian couldn’t make it for various reasons,” Alvey explained in the third-person. “But the UFC will find a replacement fight for you this week. So you then continue to the airport, get to the airport, get a text that they could not fight a replacement fight for you, but they have another fight for you with a different guy a month from now.”

Former UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montano, who was stripped of the 125-pound strap after failing to make weight for her very first title defense, bumped up to the bantamweight division after missing more than two years of action.

Unfortunately, the TUF 26 veteran could not make her mark, coming in at 143 pounds — nearly eight pounds heavier than opponent Wu Yanan. That was enough for the state athletic commission to call the fight, the second bout to get canceled at today’s weigh-ins.

Also departing UFC Vegas 33 are Trevin Jones and Ronnie Lawrence. “Five Star” tipped the scale at 135 pounds, as contracted, but the opposing camp was unable to bring “The Heat” to the weigh-in stage after Lawrence was ruled medically unfit to compete.


With the change, the UFC on ESPN 33 lineup now looks like this:


  • Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland
  • Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chris Daukaus
  • Cheyanne Buys vs. Gloria de Paula
  • Kyung Ho Kang vs. Rani Yahya
  • Sam Alvey vs. Roman Kopylov
  • Bryan Barberena vs. Jason Witt


Prelims (ESPN/ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET)


  • Niklas Stolze vs. Jared Gooden
  • Collin Anglin vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Rafa Garcia
  • Danny Chavez vs. Kai Kamaka III
  • Jinh Yu Frey vs. Ashley Yoder
  • Phil Rowe vs. Orion Cosce
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Zarrukh Adashev


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