This Sunday, August 14th, the UFC will be premiering UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle on Versus.
This free event is jam-packed with plenty of action, featuring bouts between former champions and rising newcomers. Here, I have personally overseen every main event matchup and have assigned a letter grade detailing its potential for excitement. This event is promising big things, but fret not, as the upcoming fighters are typically the type to deliver on promises.
While it would seem strange that the UFC would create such desirable matchups and not even make us pay for it, it is our duty as fans to get as much MMA awesomeness as possible before Dana and Co. realize they can make some money off us. Let us get started, no?
Dollaway is best known for being the runner-up to Amir Sadollah in season seven of The Ultimate Fighter. Since then, he’s had moderate success in the UFC, but is coming off an utterly devastating loss to Mark Munoz in March. His three wins before the Munoz fight were fairly entertaining affairs, including a submission win over Joe Doerksen.
Jared Hamman, on the other hand, has split his last two fights in the light heavyweight division but earned Fight of the Night paychecks for both. He’s making his middleweight debut against a strong wrestler in Dollaway, but he should be the larger man and manage to stay off his back.
This is an interesting matchup. Both men are coming off a loss, the type that makes a man that much more hungry for the win. It should prove to be an entertaining bout.
We now enter what could be the most boring affair of Sunday night.
Although Amir Sadollah was the winner of The Ultimate Fighter season seven, he is still quite green in his professional career. That can be forgiven, since he has only been fighting professionally since 2008. His career record is a decent 5-2, and he has won his last two bouts.
Yet, he’s only finished one of his last five opponents and that was against a late replacement in DaMarques Johnson.
Despite being only three years older, Ludwig has nearly 25 more fights to his name when compared to Sadollah, including far more finishes than Sadollah has wins.
At this point in his career, however, it looks like Ludwig is having a harder time winning, let alone finishing opponents. He’s coming off a split decision win over Nick Osipczak, and has lost three of his last five.
Neither man has ever held a major title, or won Fight of the Night, or has knocked anyone out since 2008. Hey, anything could happen on Sunday, and we might see the best Sadollah and Ludwig that ever was… but don’t count on it.
Oliveira has lost only once in his career, and that was to the very capable Jim Miller. His last match, a Fight of the Night performance against Nik Lentz, was overturned to a No Contest after it was ruled that Lentz was hit with an illegal knee. Barring that, however, he’s submitted everyone he’s faced in the UFC.
In Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, however, he may run into some trouble.
“Cowboy” is in the midst of a four-fight win streak, including being undefeated (so far) in the UFC. Two of his last four fights have won Fight of the Night honors.
This may be a tough one to call, but outside of the main event, expect to see the most action on Sunday night when Oliveira and Cerrone square off.
Jim Miller is 20-2 in his overall career with seven straight wins. His only losses are to current champion Frankie Edgar and No. 1 contender Gray Maynard, both by decision.
Ben Henderson has won 11 of his last 12, with the last loss coming against Anthony Pettis after having successfully defended the WEC Lightweight title twice.
Needless to say, both these fighters are standouts in the crowded lightweight division.
So how will this fight play out? Let’s take a look at the numbers: 11 of Miller‘s wins are by submission, while Henderson has submitted 8 opponents out of 15 total fights.
Without a doubt, much of this fight will play out on the ground, and it will be interesting to see who taps first. Miller has never been submitted, while Henderson has displayed amazing resiliency to submissions since tapping out to an unknown early in his career.
Perhaps it won’t be as entertaining as the main event, but it’s still a solid matchup with major title implications.
This one should be fun.
Let’s start with some basics: Coming off three losses, the once-relevant Dan Hardy is now in serious danger of being cut from the UFC. Yes, those three losses came against GSP, Carlos Condit and Anthony Johnson, which is nothing to hang his head about.
Still, those beatdowns were so one-sided that it’s hard to imagine Hardy doing anything else in the Welterweight division except be the guy with the Mohawk that provides the occasional exciting fight.
Indeed, White and Co. seem to only be keeping him around because they need British fighters to keep the U. K. audience interested.
So what does the UFC do in this case? Answer his prayers and match him against Chris Lytle.
Lytle may be coming off a loss, but it was a Fight of the Night performance against rising Brian Ebersole. In fact, Lytle has won Fight of the Night five (5!) freakin' times in his UFC career.
Hardy is aware of this, as he personally requested Lytle. If there’s anything that helps maintain a job in the UFC (other than winning), it’s putting on a memorable performance.
Who will win this fight? Both are coming off losses, but Lytle has won four of his last five while Hardy hasn’t. Then again, Lytle is 36 years old, while Hardy is a more prime 28.
While it will be hard to predict a winner, it's easier to predict straight fireworks. Thank you, UFC, for making this fight happen.