“The Outlaw” returned to his old stomping grounds in Nottingham, England, and Dan Hardy made sure his hometown fans left the arena with a reason to celebrate.
Hardy looked like a brand new fighter in his win against Amir Sadollah, utilizing his wrestling far better than we’ve ever seen him inside the Octagon, and keeping his striking on point as well.
In his first fight since he snapped a brutal four fight losing streak, Hardy proved he’s doing everything in his power to get back into title contention at 170 lbs.
What We’ll Remember about This Fight:
First and foremost, I think the Nottingham crowd is what made this fight so much fun.
Hardy and Sadollah got into a few fun exchanges, and neither fighter did anything to embarrass himself, but the live crowd was so hot that it gave a fight between two mid-level welterweights a big fight feel.
Their overwhelming support for Hardy was one of the cooler things we saw all day, and it made a key win for “The Outlaw” even more enjoyable for the rest of us.
What We Learned about Dan Hardy:
Slowly but surely, Dan Hardy is improving his ground game.
After getting rag-dolled in his UFC 111 title fight against Georges St-Pierre, Hardy has slowly been showing that his ground game is getting better, and he used his new found takedown skills for the first time in his UFC career.
“The Outlaw” has always been known as a threat on the feet, and if he can start forcing his opponents to worry about him taking the fight to the mat, he’ll only be more successful.
What We Learned about Amir Sadollah:
A lot of people expected Amir Sadollah to get knocked out by Dan Hardy, but the former Ultimate Fighter winner proved that his striking is some of the most underrated in the welterweight division.
Sadollah landed a ton of clean sots against Hardy and won quite a few exchanges on the feet, but the surprising takedown ability and hard left hook of Hardy seemed to throw Amir off of his game a bit.
Sadollah arguably did enough to take the first frame, but the next ten minutes belonged to “The Outlaw”.
What’s Next for Hardy:
Hardy showed off some improved wrestling ability in this one, but he still needs to prove he can shut down the grappling of a solid wrestler.
We know Matt Riddle has beef, and he could provide a nice test for the Nottingham native on the mat.
What’s Next for Sadollah:
Sadollah is consistently in tough fights, but he can’t seem to get the right amount of momentum going to makes some waves at welterweight.
Due to his win on season seven of The Ultimate Fighter, Amir is going to be a name on the radar for a lot of up and coming 170 lb fighters, and I think someone like Stephan Thompson would provide a fun fight and a stern test for Sadollah.