The proving ground where journeymen fight to show they are ready for the big leagues, Strikeforce Challengers, rocked the Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada for the second consecutive time last night as struggling veteran Jorge Gurgel (14-8) took on hard hitting newcomer Joe Duarte (7-2). Leading up to the main event was a solid card that featured a trio decisions with all the drama fans have come to expect from MMA events and one first-round submission with all the controversy fans have come to expect from a fight refereed by Steve Mazzagatti. Roy Jones (6-2) vs. “The Caveman” Derrick Mehmen (12-3) opened the bout in a blood bath turned wrestling match. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (3-0) then made quick, if controversial, work of “The Monster” Sarah D’Alelio (3-2). Veteran “Bam Bam” Pat Healy (22-15) outworked Eric Wisely (18-6) to end the latter’s four-bout win streak and “Indio” Danillo Villefort (10-4) saw his Strikeforce debut ruined by the hustle of Nate James (10-6-1). The true impact of the night’s events will only be clear once the dust settles but for now, there are a few clear implications of what’s to come.
Just one week following the stellar UFC 133 card, the boys at Zuffa reload and fire again with UFC on Versus 5 tomorrow night from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Headlining the affair are hard hitting fan favorites “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) and “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5), both of whom are looking to battle their way back from recent shortcomings. Also taking the cage are Amir Sadollah (5-2) and “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11) who are looking to build on their recent successes at the other’s expense. Taking the anchor position in the center of the card are exciting lightweight fighters “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (14-4) and Charles Oliveira (14-1) aim to get the crowd amped up for the co-main and main events. The co-main itself will feature two lightweights who are on the warpath with UFC gold, and revenge, in their sights. “Smooth” Ben Henderson (12-2) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (20-2) have both kissed UFC title contention on the mouth only to be ripped away by an untimely loss and each man has an axe to grind with the responsible party. For Henderson, he had the WEC lightweight belt and a guaranteed title shot in hand before the high flying young super stud striker “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (13-2) tore it from his grasp. Miller was hot on an eight-fight win streak that included six finishes and two one-sided UFC wins before “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1) derailed him and has since won seven straight with only two making it to the judges’ cards. Needless to say, if a title shot is out of the picture, either man has at least one name on their list as a substitute should they emerge victorious.
Tomorrow night the UFC barrels into the storied city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, toting along with it another highly anticipated fight card courtesy of UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle. Opening up the eight-man main card is a welterweight match-up between satirical UFC record-holding leg kick aficionado Amir Sadollah (5-2) and heavy-handed MMA veteran “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11). Then, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Charles Oliveira (14-1) looks to bounce back after consecutively receiving both his first loss and No Contest ruling to flaw his otherwise perfect career. Standing across the cage from Oliveira is the unpredictable former WEC top lightweight contender and multiple-time “Fight of the Night” winner “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (14-4), who will be more than happy to hand the Brazilian another loss en route to making his own claim for title contention in the UFC. The co-main event is set to display the ground game at its best, with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (20-2) taking on famed WEC veteran and Div. II wrestler “Smooth” Ben Henderson (12-2). The marquis fight of the evening pits British bad ass “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) against the man tied with “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) for most Award of the Night honors, “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5) – don’t expect to take a bathroom break during this one, as both men are guaranteed to come out guns blazing.
With a night full of possibilities ahead, here the staff of MMA Gospel determines what may be in the cards for UFC on Versus 5.
One week after the UFC storms the fighting city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with UFC 133, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization visits the home of Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle. The card is headlined by struggling welterweight fan favorites “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) and “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5) and will feature several solid match-ups between, Amir Sadollah (5-2), “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11), “Smooth” Ben Henderson (12-2), and Jim Miller (20-2). The night prefaces the featured bouts of the evening with a lightweight showdown between two men looking to set themselves apart from their talent rich contemporaries, “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (14-4) and Charles Oliveira (14-1). Cerrone is looking to continue a four-bout winning streak that includes a 2-0 run in the UFC. Oliveira, for his part, hit a stumbling block when he lost for the first time against Jim Miller and then inadvertently smashed Nik Lentz (19-3-2) with an illegal knee, turning what would have been a decisive KO victory into a No Contest. Both men have put together performances that warrant a place among the top fighters of the 155lbs. division and a win in Milwaukee would solidify that.