Dan Hardy's career has taken a notable decline recently, and the outcome of his upcoming bout against Duane Ludwig will determine his future. The two welterweights will meet on the undercard of UFC 146.
Hardy was once seen as a formidable threat in the welterweight division not too long ago. His victories over Marcus Davis and Mike Swick showcased his strong striking ability and work ethic.
But since his title loss to Georges St-Pierre, the British slugger is winless in four consecutive fights.
Ludwig has also looked less than stellar in the Octagon as he is 2-3 in his last five bouts. The 33-year-old only fought once last year, when he picked up a decision win over Amir Sadollah. However, he was unsuccessful in his recent bout against Josh Neer.
Both fighters engage often on the feet, so it should be no surprise if they look to test one another's chin, but Hardy should be aware of Ludwig's versatility. In addition to having strong striking, Ludwig is also an accomplished kick boxer.
It is unlikely that this fight will go to the ground, but in case it does, Ludwig will hold the slight advantage. Out of his career victories, six of them have come via submission, while Hardy only has four submissions credited to his name. Neither fighter has displayed efficient take-down defense, but it wouldn't hurt to mix up their attack to throw their opponent off guard.
Luckily for both competitors, this bout should be contested on the feet for a majority of the bout, and Ludwig's technical, versatile striking will give Hardy some problems. Hardy might hold a significant reach advantage over his opponent, but Ludwig's will prove to frustrate "The Outlaw" over the course of 15 minutes, giving Hardy his fifth straight loss and his walking papers.
Prediction: Duane Ludwig via unanimous decision.