UFC on Fox 7: Is Dan Hardy in over His Head Against Matt Brown?

Levi NileContributor IIIFebruary 20, 2013

May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dan Hardy reacts to the win over Duane Ledwig (not pictured) during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If main events (or co-main events) for MMA cards were decided by the potential of an all-out war, Dan Hardy vs. Matt Brown would have to be carefully considered for such high honors.

Both men love to bang, and each possesses one-punch KO power. If there were ever a clash of styles that favored a Fight of the Night prediction, it would be found in Hardy vs. Brown.

Both men are enjoying a resurgence in their careers. Hardy has rebounded from a four-fight losing streak by posting back-to-back wins over Duane Ludwig and Amir Sadollah, while Brown is riding a four-fight winning streak after a period of time that saw him drop three in a row, all by submission.

Neither man is known for taking the fight to the mat, and that leaves us salivating at the possibility of a serious slugfest.

But some feel that Hardy is in over his head against Brown.

Hardy, while being very gritty and tough as they come, has been starched before, courtesy of a counter-left by Carlos Condit that dropped Hardy flat on his back.

Not only has Brown proved to have the kind of power that can blow a man off his feet, he has never been knocked out in 27 professional bouts.

While these considerations no doubt factor into this fight, they are not enough to discount a fighter like Hardy.

Both men seem equal in terms of skill when throwing their hands, but Hardy possesses the edge in kicking and footwork, which could end up meaning quite a bit in this fight.

Brown is a stalking fighter who is happy to eat three punches in order to land one. He is completely confident in his chin and hands.

But he still posts too frequently on his lead leg, and he doesn’t so much glide around the cage as he does walk. Yes, he can be light on his feet when he wants to be, but when the punches start to fly, he plants his feet and fires with bad intentions.

Should Hardy want, he can find a home for some damaging leg kicks when Brown settles in and begins to throw.

When it comes to defense, Hardy also has an advantage, although it isn’t as pronounced as one might think.

Avoiding punches isn’t always an easy thing, but Hardy is better at it than Brown, which could help the “Outlaw” land some brutal counters—especially his left hook.

This is one of those fights where the man who gets off first and attacks on all levels is apt to control the distance, and that is the high ground in a battle like this.

Still, Brown is a true brawler who won’t hesitate to charge in if he’s getting picked apart on the outside. Hardy needs to be ready to use the Thai clinch and work heavy knees to the body, and if he can pull Brown’s head down, all the better.

In a fight like this, it truly is better to give than to receive, and the man who finds his range early and lands more often is going to win.

So, is Hardy in over his head?

Only time will tell, but on paper this is a winnable fight for him, especially considering he has been training at the Tristar gym, where they know how to put together a winning strategy.

We could even see some takedowns by Hardy, should the moment present itself.

But he better be able to handle the pressure Brown can put on a fighter when things get ugly. 

If not, the “Outlaw” could learn the same painful lesson as others: Engaging Brown in a toe-to-toe brawl, with no pretense of defense or strategy, can get you knocked out.