UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle Main Card Analysis

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Anytime the UFC gives us a free card, it’s a good reason for celebration, but when they deliver a card like Sunday’s UFC on Versus 5, its reason to go crazy.  This main card has to be exciting; it consists of two Welterweight fights and two Lightweight tussles.  Nobody over 170 on the main card equals excitement.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an unlikely stop on the UFC circus, but Sunday night the Bradley Center will play host to an exciting night of action, culminating in a main event clash between brawlers Chris Lytle and Dan Hardy.  That’s one of those can’t miss fights, where you know both men are going to come out, throw hands and one will likely go to sleep.

In the first fight of the main card, the Welterweights will be on display as Duane Ludwig faces off with Amir Sadollah.  Both fighters love the standup game and have excellent and complete Muay Thai.  Let’s break down who holds the advantages.

Standup:  Both fighters are known for their excellent hands and kicks.  Duane has been a little less successful with his standup in recent fights, with his only stoppages coming in regional shows going back some three years to when he stopped Sam Morgan on a Strikeforce card.  Amir has been spending a lot of time on his striking and stopped DeMarques Johnson in his last outing, which was also his first striking stoppage of his career.  Amir has a slight edge in the standup category.

Wrestling: Neither man is known to have a tremendous wrestling pedigree, but I’d give a slight edge to Duane Ludwig, because he trains at Grudge, and you can’t train there without hitting the mat from time to time.  Amir has not shown an ability to wrestle in his fights, as he’s always looking for a knockout.  Duane Ludwig holds an edge in wrestling.

Submissions: Both men are well rounded fighters, and have submission knowledge.  Amir has used his to submit CB Dollaway and Duane has also submitted six people in his 31 professional fights.  While both men are able to submit, and defend submissions, a slight edge can be given to Amir Sadollah.

Verdict:  This fight will likely be contested standing, and as Amir holds an edge in that regard, expect him to be the aggressor and to hold an advantage during the fight.  You can expect Ludwig to get in over his head standing, and look for takedowns but in the end expect Amir to be too much for Ludwig to handle and finish Ludwig for his second consecutive TKO victory.

The next fight is very intriguing as Donald Cerrone will go up against Charles Oliveira.  In this contest you can expect Cerrone to continue his trend of standing up and hurting fighters while Oliveira will look to take the fight to the ground and work his submissions.

Standup:  This one is a landslide; Cerrone has excellent hands and kicks, and could dominate Oliveira if it stays standing.  Cerrone has continued to grow in this regard, and has made himself among the most dangerous strikers in the lightweight division.  Charles Oliveira has six tko victories but five of them took place inside his first six fights, against fighters who were considerably less talented than what he’s facing now.  Cerrone owns a substantial edge in standup.

Wrestling:  Cerrone trains at Greg Jackson’s MMA so it is safe to say he trains wrestling and grappling.  Charles Oliveira utilizes some wrestling to take fights down, where he can ply his submission trade.  Neither fighter is known for their wrestling but they both do possess solid takedown defense with an edge going to Cerrone.

Submissions:  This is also closer than what people might believe.  Donald Cerrone has excellent submissions, but Oliveira has a more complete submission game.  If this fight goes to the mat for an extended period of time, Cerrone puts himself at risk of being submitted.  Oliveira has excellent submissions and holds an edge here.

Verdict:  If this were a grappling match, Oliveira would be the winner, but it’s not, it is Mixed Martial Arts and Donald Cerrone is the more complete martial artist.  Look for Oliveira to eat some big shots standing and be stung by leg kicks, before shooting for takedowns.  Cerrone will utilize his takedown defense to keep this fight standing long enough to hurt Oliveira and could submit him after a knockdown.  Donald Cerrone by Guillotine Choke after hurting Oliveira standing.

Jim Miller is on the verge of a possible title shot.  Ben Henderson is a former WEC champion, looking to leapfrog a logjam at Lightweight and make his way to the head of the line.

Standup:  Jim Miller is as complete a fighter as there is in the UFC, and his standup is solid if not exciting.  He has a solid jab but has only won three fights out of twenty with his hands.  Ben Henderson has a terrific standup game, with fast hands, knees and kicks but has only stopped two fighters standing.  This fight is not likely to be won with standup, but if it is, give Henderson a slight edge because of his ability to knee and kick better than Miller.

Wrestling: Jim Miller has very solid wrestling, as he wrestled in high school and at division one Virginia Tech.  Miller has solid takedowns, good passing skills and a heavy top game on the mat, dropping elbows, forearms, and hammerfists.  Ben Henderson also wrestled in high school and went to Dana College in Nebraska where he wrestled and was twice named a NAIA All American.  With both fighters having wresting pedigrees a small edge can be given to Miller.

Submissions:  Jim Miller is a Jiu Jitsu blackbelt under Jamie Cruz.  He has won better than 50% of his fights via submission.  He is very strong and when he applies a choke, his squeeze is like an anaconda.  Ben Henderson has solid submissions as well, and is a brown belt under Jon Crouch who happens to be a Royce Gracie Black belt, so he’s a very high level Jiu Jitsu player.  Henderson has also won better than 50% of his fights by submission.  In the truest black belt vs. brown belt aspect Miller holds an edge, but in Jiu Jitsu for MMA, its dead even.

Verdict:  These are two very evenly matched and are fighting for quite a lot here.  The winner finds himself in title consideration while the loser must again climb the ladder from the middle.  This fight could go either way, but if forced to make a pick, go with Ben Henderson by Unanimous Decision.

Dan Hardy has lost three straight and a fourth consecutive would be devastating for him.  He’ll be facing Chris Lytle is perhaps the pound for pound the most exciting fight maker in MMA.  Every time Lytle fights, it’s a good fight.

Standup:  This is close and Dan Hardy packs the heavier punches while Lytle might be more accurate and has faster hands.  Both men will utilize low kicks as well, but you shouldn’t expect to see a lot of high kicks, flying knees and spinning back fists.  In the battle of standup, the edge belongs to Hardy, who can finish the fight with one shot.

Wrestling:  Chris Lyle and Dan Hardy both are not known as wrestlers, but they both possess solid wrestling ability.  Lytle wrestled in high school and still works with his old high school wrestling team to help out and stay sharp.  Dan Hardy has only stopped 31% of takedown attempts against him in the UFC and that won’t cut it.  Lytle holds a pretty solid edge in wrestling.

Submissions:  Despite Dan Hardy having trained with submission maven Eddie Bravo, Chris Lytle has a substantial edge in practical submissions.  Lytle has submitted 11 fighters in his career and continues to improve in all areas of his submission game.  At this level, fighters can all submit each other if someone makes a mistake, but Lytle can submit you without the mistake and he’s proven it.  Edge goes to Lytle.

Verdict:  If this fight stays standing for fifteen minutes, expect Lytle to land more shots, but Hardy the telling shots to lead to a victory for “The Outlaw”.  However, most fights at some point go to the mat, and with Lytle’s big advantage on the ground, coupled with Hardy’s inability to stop the takedown and Lytle should be able to take Hardy down, pass his guard and submit him after some exciting exchanges standing.  Lytle by armbar, round 3.

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