UFC Live: Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle Early Analysis, Insight and Predictions
UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle will be held on August 14 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and broadcast live on Versus.
Highlighting the night's action will be a sure-fire throwdown between Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy and Chris "Lights Out" Lytle in the UFC welterweight division.
The other co-main event on the evening's card is a tremendous lightweight matchup between Jim Miller and former WEC champion Ben Henderson.
Potentially stealing the marquee limelight away from the co-main event, an excellent stylistic matchup features jiu-jitsu wizard Charles Oliveira and the Muay Thai specialist Donald Cerrone as they grace the UFC lightweight division.
Additional blockbuster duels include Amir Sodallah and Duane Ludwig, as well as former Ultimate Fighter winner CB Dollaway versus the hard-hitting, up-and-coming middleweight competitor Jared Hamman.
To say that this writer is excited for this free venue is an understatement. Excellent matchups fill the card from start to finish.
Please follow along as I dissect each of the night's fights and provide analysis, insights and predictions.
Enjoy this amazing fight card.
I welcome your comments.
Fight No. 1: Edwin Figueroa vs. Jason Reinhardt
The night's action in Milwaukee begins with a bantamweight duel between Edwin "El Faroz" Figueroa and Jason Reinhardt.
With an overall MMA record of 7-1 with five knockout victories, Figueroa was undefeated until his last matchup against Michael McDonald in March.
Earning "Fight of the Night" honors en route to a unanimous decision defeat, Figueroa showed excellent striking and submission attempts throughout the entire fight.
Looking to continue "El Faroz's" losing streak, the 41-year-old Reinhardt is making his second appearance in the UFC this Saturday.
A talented jiu-jitsu practitioner with 16 submission victories to his credit, Reinhardt is dangerous off of his back and in the guard.
Fighting out of the Wand Fight Team in Las Vegas, Nevada with Wanderlei Silva at the helm, Reinhardt's stand-up game is ever-evolving.
This bantamweight bout should be action-packed and nonstop from start to finish. Figueroa's balanced skill set will secure him a second-round victory.
Winner: Edwin Figueroa Round 2 TKO
Fight No. 2: Jacob Volkmann vs. Danny Castillo
In a lightweight matchup, Jacob "Christmas" Volkmann challenges Danny "Last Call" Castillo.
Receiving more publicity for his comments about Barack Obama after his victory at UFC 125, Volkmann will need a strong performance inside the Octagon to receive recognition for his mixed martial arts abilities and not so much for his political stance.
At 12-2 with six submissions in 14 professional fights, "Christmas" is an accomplished amateur wrestler and utilizes his grappling background inside the Octagon.
An equally accomplished wrestler in Castillo, neither fighter will have the edge in the grappling department.
A member of Team Alpha Male with Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes, Castillo's fight camp is on a torrid pace with back-to-back victories by Meisha Tate and the aforementioned Mendes.
Wanting to add another victory to the Alpha Male resume, Castillo will need to keep this fight on his feet where he will have a sizable striking advantage over the less-developed striker in Volkmann.
If instinct kicks in, this matchup will result in a grappling competition. Otherwise, Castillo should secure a solid victory with his quick hands and pinpoint punching accuracy.
Winner: Danny Castillo via unanimous decision victory
Fight No. 3: Cole Miller vs. T.J. O'Brien
Fight No. 3 is a lightweight matchup between the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt Cole Miller versus a fellow jiu-jitsu practitioner in T.J. O'Brien.
Miller, defeated by Matt Wiman in January, will be looking to secure a submission to add to his already impressive tapout total of 12.
A seasoned veteran as compared to O'Brien, Miller has faced excellent competition including Ross Pearson, Dan Lauzon and Jeremy Stephens.
Similarly designed in their fight skill set, O'Brien is a very developed wrestler and jiu-jitsu practitioner.
Developing his stand-up, O'Brien will need to utilize all 6'2" of his frame to keep Miller at bay and dominate on their feet.
Considering that both competitors have 27 career submission victories between the two of them, this jiu-jitsu exhibition should be a back-and-forth affair.
In the end, I feel that Cole Miller's experience provides the American Top Team pupil a slight advantage.
Winner: Cole Miller via Round 3 triangle choke
Fight No. 4: Alex Caceres vs. Jimy Hettes
Alex Caceres, aka Bruce Leeroy, became well known for his time on the Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck.
Caceres, a Jeet Kune Do and Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter, has an overall MMA record of 4-3. Losing his initial matchup in the UFC to Mackens Semerzier in March, Bruce Leeroy will need a solid victory to remain relevant within the UFC.
Challenging Caceres in this featherweight bout and making his debut this Sunday within the famed Octagon is Jimy "The Kid" Hettes.
A two-time Keystone State Judo gold medalist, Hettes is known for his exceptional judo talent as well as his high-level jiu-jitsu.
Training with Greg Jackson's camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, "The Kid" is developing his stand-up game to complement his high-level ground attack.
At 8-0 with eight submission victories, Hettes looks to weaken his opposition on their feet and then secure a tapout win.
Hettes' skill set is extremely dangerous and will prove too much for Caceres. In the end, Bruce Leeroy will not have the answers to battle the ever-evolving Hettes.
Winner: Jimy Hettes via Round 2 rear-naked choke
Fight No. 5: Karlos Vemola vs. Ronny Markes
The evening's first light heavyweight duel is a battle between two distant mixed martial arts practitioners.
Karlos "The Terminator" Vemola fights out of London, England and is of Czech dissent. An aggressive fighter with excellent physical strength, Vemola has earned a reputation for manhandling his opposition.
At 8-1 with four knockout victories and four submission wins, "The Terminator" is a very balanced fighter with thunder in his punches.
Stepping in for the injured Stephan Bonnar, Ronny Markes will be making his debut in the UFC this Sunday.
A Brazilian native, Markes is also a very balanced fighter with excellent hands and a well-versed jiu-jitsu game.
This matchup should be full of fireworks as both fighters have a propensity to stand and trade in the center of the Octagon.
I do not see this fight going the distance and I predict that Vemola will have the advantage in the stand-up striking ultimately securing a TKO victory.
Winner: Karlos Vemola via Round 3 TKO
Fight No. 6: Ed Herman vs. Kyle Noke
Ed "Short Fuse" Herman makes his return to the Octagon in the middleweight division against Kyle "KO" Noke.
Herman, an accomplished mixed martial artist with an overall 21-8 record with 13 submission victories, is a balanced fighter who is well versed on his feet and on the ground.
Following a TKO victory over Tim Credeur in June, "Short Fuse" will need a victory over Noke to remain relevant within the UFC middleweight division.
Opposing Herman, Noke is a southpaw fighting out of Jackson Submission Fighting in Albuquerque, New Mexico by way of Australia.
The Aussie possesses a well-balanced 19-4 overall MMA record, 3-0 within the famed Octagon, with six career knockouts and eight submission victories.
Stepping up in competition to face "Short Fuse," a victory for Noke over Herman will catapult "KO's" career.
Both competitors are seemingly mirror images of one another. Herman and Noke both possess good stand-up skills and above-average ground games.
With no clear-cut difference in skill sets, I will provide the slight advantage to Kyle Noke because of the tremendous group of training partners provided at the Jackson camp.
Working with the likes of Jon Jones and Brian Stann will elevate any fighter's abilities inside the Octagon.
Winner: Kyle Noke via split-decision victory
Fight No. 7: Joseph Benavidez vs. Eddie Wineland
A rare bantamweight contest featuring Joseph "Joe B-Wan Kanobi" Benavidez and Eddie Wineland will enter the Octagon for the seventh fight of the venue.
Benavidez, another pupil of Team Alpha Male competing in Milwaukee and armed with his highly developed wrestling and jiu-jitsu talents, will be looking to improve upon his 14-2 overall MMA record.
Competing against the top talent within the bantamweight division, "Joe B-Wan Kanobi" holds distinct victories over Rani Yahya, Jeff Curran and Miguel Torres.
Taking current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz the distance in a split-decision defeat in 2010, Benavidez is extremely experienced and highly motivated to rise to the top of this deep division yet again to compete for the title.
Wineland also is well experienced with an overall MMA record 18-7. Like Benavidez, Wineland is an established grappler. However, his jiu-jitsu attack is not at the level of the Alpha Male prodigy.
Relying more on the power in his hands, Wineland has earned two Knockout of the Night bonuses in his nine career knockout victories.
Challenging fellow Team Alpha Male member Urijah Faber back in March, Wineland's defeat at the hands of Faber provides Team Alpha Male with the necessary scouting report needed to design a game plan for Benavidez's success.
Wineland is an excellent fighter. However, his previous defeat at the hands of Faber in addition to his propensity to win his contests via knockout provide Benavidez the edge in this matchup.
Winner: Joseph Benavidez via unanimous decision victory
Fight No. 8: C.B. Dollaway vs. Jared Hamman
The final preliminary bout in Milwaukee is your quintessential-grappler-versus-striker matchup. This middleweight contest features the wrestling pedigree of C.B. "The Doberman" Dollaway versus the hard-hitting rising prospect in Jared "The Messenger" Hamman.
Runner-up on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, Dollaway has an overall MMA record of 11-3, 5-3 in the UFC.
Defeated by Mark Munoz in March as a result of knockout at the 0:54 mark of Round 1, Dollaway will be looking to right the ship this Sunday against Hamman.
A relative unknown within the UFC middleweight division, Hamman has an impressive overall MMA record of 11-3 with eight knockout victories.
This former collegiate football player is blessed with height and reach and will need all that length to keep Dollaway and his tremendous takedown capabilities at bay.
Hamman's skill set has improved immensely while training at VMAT in El Segundo, California under the tutelage of Vladimir Matyushenko and Antoni Hardonk.
Personally serving as a sparring partner for Hamman over the past two months, this author has felt Jared's strikes and knows his power and pinpoint accuracy firsthand.
Dollaway will be looking to take this fight to the ground and control the matchup while working for a submission or wearing down Hamman with an excellent ground-and-pound attack.
Conversely, "The Messenger" needs to keep Dollaway at a distance and deliver his strikes with tactical precision. Defending the takedown well in training, Hamman will be looking to execute knee strikes if "The Doberman" attempts to take this fight to the mat.
Personal bias aside, I believe that Hamman's strengths as a stand-up striker will overwhelm Dollaway. "The Doberman" will be successful in taking this fight to the ground. However, Hamman will quickly bring the fight back to the stand-up where he will ultimately catch Dollaway with a finishing blow.
Winner: Jared Hamman via Round 3 TKO
Main Card Fight No. 1: Amir Sadollah vs. Duane Ludwig
Main card fight No.1 features Amir Sadollah versus Duane "Bang" Ludwig in the UFC welterweight division.
Season 7 winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Sadollah has since gone on to defeat Phil Baroni, Brad Blackburn, Peter Sobotta and DeMarques Johnson under the UFC banner.
A black belt in judo, training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, this judo and Muay Thai practitioner holds the record for most leg kicks landed in three five-minute rounds with 46.
Obviously a well-disciplined Muay Thai striker, Sadollah is also very comfortable off of his back working for a submission.
Sadollah will need both facets of his fight game when he faces the very experienced and tremendously talented Ludwig this Sunday.
"Bang" is one of the best Muay Thai specialists within all of mixed martial arts. A seasoned kick-boxing veteran, Ludwig has competed worldwide and has captured numerous kick-boxing championships.
With an impressive overall MMA record of 20-11, Ludwig will be looking to capitalize on his experience advantage over the relative newcomer in Sadollah.
Both competitors are gifted stand-up strikers, with the advantage in that department going to Ludwig. And both fighters have well-developed ground games. Sadollah holds the advantage in the wrestling department because of his highly advanced judo background.
I expect this fight to go the distance loaded with tremendous striking displays and excellent ground-game techniques. Conditioning will be the variable in this matchup.
Winner: Amir Sadollah via split-decision victory
Main-Card Fight No. 2: Charles Oliveira vs. Donald Cerrone
Quite possibly a Fight of the Year potential, this lightweight duel between Charles "do Bronx" Oliveira and "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone will be an epic battle of two rising stars.
Aside from his one defeat to Jim Miller in December of 2010, Oliveira has been on a tear as a mixed martial artist accumulating an overall MMA record of 14-1-1.
Sitting cageside and watching "do Bronx" in his previous matchup with Nik Lentz in Pittsburgh at UFC Live on Versus 4, this author had no words to describe the effortless and graceful transitions that Oliveira displayed inside the Octagon.
Oliveira's brilliance as a jiu-jitsu specialist complements his rapid development in his stand-up game and striking attack.
There is no doubt in my mind that Oliveira will one day challenge for the UFC lightweight championship.
Not to dismiss the talents of Donald Cerrone, "Cowboy" is an extremely dangerous Muay Thai specialist with a high level of jiu-jitsu ability himself.
At 15-3 with 12 submission victories, Cerrone utilizes his brilliant stand-up to attack an opening and force a tapout of the opposition.
Realizing that Cerrone's past strategy should be thwarted by the BJJ black belt in Oliveira, this fight will be determined on their feet, in the wrestling transitions and submission attempts.
A very challenging contest to determine a victor, I believe that "do Bronx" possesses a slight advantage over "Cowboy" in the jiu-jitsu game which will award Oliveira a hard-fought victory.
Winner: Charles Oliveira via split-decision victory
Main-Card Fight No. 3: Jim Miller vs. Ben Henderson
Another amazing matchup in the lightweight division features Jim Miller versus Ben "Smooth" Henderson.
A victory for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Miller against the highly talented Henderson will provide the New Jersey native the MMA resume needed to compete for the lightweight championship.
Aware of this reality, Miller will be at the top of his game attempting to finish Henderson with a submission adding to his remarkable 11 tapout victories.
At 20-2 overall, Miller's last loss was a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of the No. 1 contender Gray Maynard in 2009.
Possessing one of the most advanced ground games in all of mixed martial arts, Miller's overall abilities inside the Octagon are improving with each fight.
Not to be outdone, Henderson is a specimen inside the Octagon. This black belt in Tae Kwon Do and brown belt in BJJ has amassed an overall MMA record of 13-2 with eight submission victories.
A truly gifted fighter, outside of knockout power, this former WEC lightweight champion has very limited holes in his game.
Excellent stand-up striking complements Henderson's tremendous jiu-jitsu brilliance. Additionally, "Smooth" is extremely athletic and creative with his offensive attack.
Henderson needs a victory over Miller to climb the ranks into contention status in this very deep UFC division.
This clash between these two top-tier fighters is very challenging to determine a victor.
Miller is riding a huge wave of momentum inside the famed Octagon. I predict this momentum to continue for the ground tactician.
Winner: Jim Miller via unanimous decision victory
Main-Card Fight No. 4: Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle
The main event in Milwaukee will be a dragged-out battle between two veterans in the UFC welterweight division.
Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy brings his English-born attitude, red-striped hair and thunderous punches inside the Octagon against Chris "Lights Out" Lytle, who has never lost by submission or knockout in 53 professional fights.
Hardy, a gifted striker with good hand speed, powerful punches and a confidence in his stand-up game, will need to execute a solid game plan against the resiliency and tenacity of Lytle.
Looking to rebound from three successive defeats inside the Octagon, "The Outlaw" needs a decisive victory over "Lights Out" to not only remain employed by the UFC but to once again climb the welterweight ladder and challenge for the title.
Perhaps the most overlooked and potentially unappreciated competitor within the division, Lytle brings his no-holds-barred attitude in o the Octagon for each fight.
Unconcerned with his personal safety, "Lights Out" will do whatever it takes to secure a victory. Matching Anderson Silva for the most UFC fight bonuses with eight, Lytle's desire to win is trumped only by his propensity to entertain the fans.
This battle in the welterweight division will be very exciting. Both competitors enjoy standing and trading in the center of the Octagon and both are very skilled strikers.
Hardy is more of a kick-boxer, whereas Lytle is more of a traditional boxer.
Their similarities end there. Lytle clearly possesses the advantage in the ground game. With 21 submission victories, "Lights Out" is well versed in the jiu-jitsu department.
Conversely, "The Outlaw's" lack of jiu-jitsu skill has been his Achilles heel in the UFC. Even though Hardy has only been defeated three times by submission, his inability to bring the fight back to its feet by utilizing the necessary jiu-jitsu sweeps has been a thorn in his side.
Additionally, Hardy's takedown defense is sub-par, exposing his weakness in the grappling department.
Lytle's game plan will be to stand and trade with Hardy for as long as necessary. Possessing the ability to capitalize with a ground attack is clearly the advantage "Lights Out" possesses over "The Outlaw."
When the sweat is wiped and the blood is clotted, I predict that Chris Lytle will be victorious over Dan Hardy and position himself one step closer to challenging for the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Winner: Chris Lytle via split-decision victory