The explosive HIT Squad welterweight and UFC veteran Brian Foster (16-5) has signed with Bellator Fighting Championships after a 3-2 journey within the UFC that saw him face the likes of “Lights Out” Chris Ltyle (31-18), “The Immortal” Matt Brown (12-10), and “The Horror” Rick Story (11-3). Foster adds a lot of finishing power to the Bellator 170lbs. ranks, with eight wins by TKO and eight wins by submission, and if that doesn’t capture the attention of Bellator fans, the fact that he has never gone the distance and has been out of the first round only five times in his 21-fight career.
It can read it on any MMA forum: “the sport is being taken over by wrestlers”, “fighters used to fight, now they play it safe”, “I miss PRIDE rules” (we all do, relax). Even veteran fighters such as “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-2) have voiced their displeasure with where the sport is supposedly headed. The pundits worry that the days of brawls at the center of the cage are over; overshadowed by collegiate and Olympic dynamos that stifle the brutish element of the sport they fell in love with. But what exactly is all the fuss about? A few more wrestlers? The sport has had plenty of wrestlers since its inception. What the sport needs are gamers. No, not the gamers that obsess over the next World of Warcraft map update. The gamers that MMA needs grit their teeth and plunge headfirst into battle with another fighter. And whether it’s nostalgia for the “glory days” of MMA or the odd disdain fight fans have grown for the ground game, the furrowed brows of MMA fandom have forgotten that regardless of style, gamers still exist in this sport. It just so happens that this past weekend’s UFC Live on Versus 5 brought this point home for fight fans of all persuasions, showing that gameness will trump fighting style any day. And the future of this sport is full of game fighters.
On Sunday, August 14, the UFC made its Milwaukee, Wisconsin debut in spectacular fashion, courtesy of UFC on Versus 5: Lytle vs. Hardy. Although it took a while for the premier mixed martial arts promotion to finally land in the Badger State, I can assure you that the local MMA community has been abuzz about the prospect of a live UFC event for quite some time now. Especially with the surge in popularity of Duke Roufus’ gym Roufusport in Milwaukee and all the young talent it has brought forth – “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (13-2), “Dannyboy” Dan Downes (8-2), and “New Breed” Erik Koch (12-1) just to name a few – Milwaukee was ready for the UFC. Much to the delight of fans in in Milwaukee and worldwide, the UFC delivered in a big way with its most recent effort, bringing to the cage some of the best up-and-comers that the organization has to offer as well as some of its respected veterans, including a main event between British slugger “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-10) and heavy-handed “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (31-18-5).
The fifth installment of UFC on Versus has come to a close and with it, a night filled with “Fight of the Night”-worthy match-ups. The main card’s opening bout showcased a striking clinic when world-class level Muay Thai boxer met a hungry up-and-comer. One of the biggest stars of the WEC stepped in on short notice to take on one of the sport’s fastest rising stars. The co-main event saw a battle where one fighter fought to prove his place within the organization’s ranks and the other sought his long awaited shot at a title. A true ambassador of the sport made his final appearance in the Octagon when he was pitted against a former contender longing to return to his winning ways. Now that all is said and done, here is a recap of the main card from this past Sunday night along with possible match-ups that could be seen for each winner sooner rather than later.
So, here it is. Monday. I sit down to write a “Spilled Bag of Fights”. Black coffee, Black Sabbath and my pup by my side. Deep breath. Man, what a roller coaster of a weekend for MMA… for me at least.
First off, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pay condolences to coach Shawn Tompkins. I didn’t know him personally but he’s obviously had a great impact on his students and the sport and his death comes way too young. Sad for his friends, family, and MMA.
Let’s start with Friday when I was unexpectedly given a ticket to Strikeforce Challengers: Gurgel vs. Duarte. When I showed up I was surprised to be sitting next to MMA Valor’s own Dylan Horner. I also went to UFC 125: Edgar vs. Maynard with him. For some reason whenever I sit next to Dylan there’s a drunken moron yelling really dumb shit. Last time it was the guy who was yelling “Flip ‘em over!”, “Don’t take that bullshit!” and insisting that Asians can fly and that Clay Guida looks like Dog the Bounty Hunter. This time it was a guy who looked like John Denver with a mustache. He looked like he stepped out of his time machine from 1978 and sat down in front of us. Some of his gems included: “Kick ‘em in the balls!”, “You hit like a girl!” and as soon as the fight went to the ground, “C’mon ref, Stand ‘em up!” and “Kick ‘em in the head!”. Clearly, this gentleman that people in our section dubbed “Shaggy” had a less-than-educated understanding of the rules of mixed martial arts.
The UFC’s maiden voyage into the Badger State may have been its most exciting card of the year as “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (31-18-5) ended his career on a high note by winning both “Fight of the Night” and “Submission of the Night” honors against “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-10). The card was certainly the best free offering the organization has put forth in quite some time and rivaled many of its Pay-Per-View events with two hard hitting wars between “Smooth” Ben Henderson (13-2) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (20-3) and Amir Sadollah (5-3) and “Bang” Duane Ludwig (21-11) as well as a brutal TKO for the more blood thirsty of fans, courtesy of “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (15-4) in his win over Charles Oliveira (14-2). While the fans clearly came out as the big winners in Milwaukee, not everyone came out ahead and here with the stock report at the market’s close is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
Dan Hardy vs. Chris Lytle: Lytle via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Round 3, 4:16
Jim Miller vs. Ben Henderson: Henderson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-26), Round 3, 5:00
Charles Oliveira vs. Donald Cerrone: Cerrone via TKO (Strikes), Round 1, 3:01
Amir Sadollah vs. Duane Ludwig: Ludwig via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Round 3, 5:00
“Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5) is reportedly set to step into the Octagon for the very last time in tonight’s UFC on Versus 5 main event.
The 36-year-old MMA veteran’s professional career spans over a decade including a total of 19 fights in the UFC, where he has gone 9-10. Lytle is a five-time “Fight of the Night,” two-time “Submission of the Night”, and one-time “Knockout of the Night” winner and is presently tied with UFC Middleweight Champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) for the most fight performance bonuses in the history of the UFC. Tonight he will face British slugger “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Bradley Center in what promises to be a barn burner that has all the makings of another Award of the Night honor.
Though a veteran of multiple mixed martial arts organizations, Lytle is most known for his fights within the UFC’s Octagon. He made his promotional debut at UFC 28 in November 2000 then bounced around a few regional promotions as well as took five more fights in the UFC before joining the cast of The Ultimate Fighter 4. “Lights Out” defeated “Secret Weapon” Pete Spratt (22-19) and “The Dominator” Din Thomas (25-8) in exhibition bouts on the Spike TV reality show but lost via Split Decision to “The Terror” Matt Serra at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Live Finale in November 2006.
The UFC looks to follow its action packed UFC 133 card with a second dose of high octane MMA action just seven days later as TUF 7 alum Amir Sadollah (5-2) and “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11) open the festivities for UFC on Versus 5 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following the pair will be another pair of bouts that feature some of the UFC’s most exciting fighters in “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (14-4), Charles Oliveira (14-1), “Smooth” Ben Henderson (12-2) and “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (20-2). All of these potentially “Fight of the Night”-quality pairings lead up to one headlining fight that promises more fireworks than Fourth of July at an amusement park between hard hitting and outspoken “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) and Indiana fire fighter turned fight bonus winning machine “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5). Both men have fallen on recent hard times with Lytle losing a match where victory would have landed him in title contention for the welterweight crown and Hardy losing three straight since earning his own crack at UFC gold. For Lytle, time is short at 36-years-old and he can’t afford to have another loss undo all the hard work he has done reinventing himself. For Hardy, the specter of the Zuffa headsman looms in the shadows and a failure here will likely bring the executioner of careers into the daylight for the crowd pleasing Brit.
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.
This Sunday night the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be packing the house to bring its hometown MMA fans as well as those around the world the UFC’s latest effort in UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle. Move aside, headhunter Clay Matthews, for two other all-out brawlers will take the center stage as former title contender “The Outlaw” Dan Hardy (23-9) and “Fight of the Night” king “Lights Out” Chris Lytle (30-18-5) duke it out in the main event. Former WEC Lightweight Champion and highly regarded submission artist “Smooth” Ben Henderson (12-2) will meet the dangerous Jim Miller (20-2) in a match-up that will perhaps determine the next title challenger to the winner of “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) and “The Bully” Gray Maynard (10-0-1). WEC alum and kickboxing veteran “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (14-4) is looking to stay undefeated at 3-0 in the UFC by gaining a win over slick submission ace Charles Oliveira (14-1), while Oliveira seeks a win of his own to boost his stock in the 155lbs. division. Two UFC welterweight warriors will meet in a barn burner match-up for the right to move into the higher ranks as TUF 7 winner and textbook striker Amir Sadollah (5-2) will go against the Strikeforce, King of the Cage, and UFC veteran “Bang” Duane Ludwig (20-11). Especially in the UFC’s highly competitive 170lbs. division, a win is vital not only to stay in the running for title contention, but also in many cases, to avoid being demoted to undercard status.
Despite a laundry list of substitutions and injuries, UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz still made good on their delivery of entertaining fights. Philadelphia saw “age” meet “experience” in the card’s opener. An upcoming middleweight stepped up to the main card to face a veteran in his quest to establish himself in the UFC. Two seasoned fighters in the welterweight division added another notch in their combined 100+ fight career. The co-main event truly played into the phrase, “don’t blink” as two 185lbs. contenders collided. In the main event, two former light heavyweight champions met again after their first fight in 2007, only this time with serious title implications for the victor. Now that all has been said and done, here is a recap of UFC 133’s main card and possible match-ups that could be seen for those who had their hand raised.