UFC on Versus 5: "Hardy vs. Lytle" is all set to go down this Sunday night (Aug. 14) live from Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Remember: MMAmania.com will provide results and LIVE play-by-play for the cable network telecast starting at 9 p.m. ET, as well as quick results of all the preliminary card action much earlier in the evening.
And keep his job in the process.
Fight of the night? Of the year?
Let's break it all down.Losing three straight contests and then headlining a major fight card may sound like just another day under the Strikeforce banner, but for the UFC it's a pretty rare occurrence. So what makes Dan Hardy so special that he gets to enjoy top billing?
Based on his recent performances, not much.
"The Outlaw" gets top billing because he was smart enough to call out Chris Lytle, who has the midas touch when it comes to fight night bonuses. In short, he delivers, and will likely oblige the Brit's request to spend 15 minutes on his feet throwing bombs until someone's legs turn to rubber.
So who goes to sleep in Milwaukee?
Now that Brian Ebersole has snapped Lytle's four-fight win streak and effectively ended his candidacy for division number one contender, the Indiana firefighter is probably going to throw caution to the wind and make this a crowd-pleasing slobberknocker.
Hardy is resilient, no question, but I don't believe for a second he wouldn't be taken down and subbed if all Lytle cared about was winning.
But it's not all he cares about, which is why he's sharing the headliner with Hardy. It's also the reason he goes out on his shield. The fans will get their money's worth but after 10+ years of abuse and 50+ fights of staying awake, the inevitable will finally happen.
Dan Hardy def. Chris Lytle via technical knockout
Historically, I've been picking against Jim Miller, which is probably why no one at AMA Fight Club will return my calls. It's not that I think he's been lucky or the recipient of favorable matchmaking, I just find it hard to believe any fighter can continue winning the way he does.
And yet he we are.
The way he submitted Charles Oliveira and pounded out Kamal Shalorus was impressive enough for me to pick him over Ben Henderson, and that's saying something, because I'm a huge "Bendo" fan.
"Smooth" is good at just about everything including wrestling, submissions and striking. But for every discipline where I call Henderson good, I call Miller just a little bit better. He's 20-2 and his only losses were to Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar, who aren't exactly a couple of cans.
Henderson has also been electric and aside from the high-profile decision loss to Anthony Pettis, has shown to be as good as any of the hungry contenders at 155. I wouldn't be surprised to see a very close back-and-forth war of attrition, but one that I expect Miller to get the best of when all is said and done.
Jim Miller def. Ben Henderson via unanimous decision
What's amazing about this fight card is that not only can you make a "Fight of the Night" argument for the main event and co-main event, but you can make it for the 155-pound match-up between Donald Cerrone and Charles Oliveira as well.
Who is the more dynamic lightweight?
That's the big question for me coming into this scrap. I think as far as raw talent, Oliveira is the better fighter. Unfortunately he's also a little too reckless, which is the downfall of many fighters his age.
Everyone loves a go-for-broke style, but the same wildman routine he displayed in a winning effort against Efrain Escudero also cost him in his contest against Jim Miller.
I'm taking Cerrone via superior gameplan.
His rematch against Jamie Varner was a turning point in his career. That's when "Cowboy" put his emotions in check and focused on winning and he hasn't looked back since, continuing where he left off in the WEC and jumping out to a 2-0 start inside the Octagon.
"Do Bronx" will be faster and flashier, but Cerrone will be smarter.
Donald Cerrone def. Charles Oliveira via unanimous decision
Duane Ludwig stands at 20-11 but that record is deceptive as he opened his career at 10-2 when he took the MMA plunge over a decade ago. He's basically a .500 fighter and hasn't had a meaningful win in years.
I commend him for coming back from that ghastly ankle injury he suffered against Darren Elkins in March 2010, but taking a split decision win over Nick Osipczak in his UFC return really didn't do anything for me.
That's not to suggest Amir Sadollah is a world beater because he isn't, but I think he proved in the DaMarques Johnson fight earlier this year he's finally turned the corner and may live up to the potential he showed during his run on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7
If I compare their respective skill sets, I'm going with Sadollah. He has the better Muay Thai, better submissions and is a more cerebral fighter. It wouldn't surprise me to see Ludwig get hurt in the stand up and wind up heading south.
From there, it's tapsville.
Amir Sadollah def. Duane Ludwig via submission
That's a wrap, folks.
Remember to come check us out after the show for all the latest results, recaps and coverage of UFC on Versus 5: "Hardy vs. Lytle."
What do you think? Now it's your turn ... let us have it in the comments section and share your thoughts and picks for Sunday night's event.