The UFC on Versus 5 fight card was full of action and was arguably one of the best cards of 2011. With exciting undercard fights and action packed main card action, Milwaukee, Wisconsin fans definitely got their money's worth by the time they exited the arena after the main event.
Exciting finishes from Jared Hamman and Ed Herman to indelible 15-minute battles to the ladder climbing of Donald Cerrone and Ben Henderson, the card provided everything fight fans could possibly ask for.
But what did I enjoy most? I enjoyed fighters revitalizing their careers.
Cole Miller was one fight away from a contender bout and possibly a grudge match with rising star Donald Cerrone before his loss to Matt Wiman at UFC Fight Night 23 in January. He would need a big win over T.J. O’Brien to remain relevant in the stacked lightweight division.
Chris Lytle is a war-tested veteran with over 50 professional mixed martial fights and 15 professional boxing fights. He has faced a "who's who" in this sport and despite a mediocre record, he is one of the most respected named in the division, as well as the sport.
Knocking on the door to contendership, Lytle’s title hopes were demolished in a unanimous decision loss to Brian Ebersole at UFC 127 in February. Instead of marching his way back up the ladder, he opted to retire pre-fight making his bout with Hardy his last in a long and storied career.
Both fighters shared the same results but are now headed down completely different paths. Follow me after the jump for more.
In the evening’s third bout, hidden way down deep in the undercard, Cole Miller was ready to unleash hell on his opponent for redemption and an opportunity to get back on the winning track.
Play-by-play from MMAmania:
Round two: O'Brien opens with some aggression, throwing solid high front kicks and landing a jab. Miller responds with a stiff left jab to the face. Miller gets backed up by O'Brien but he responds with a left hook counter to the face that drops O'Brien. Miller throws multiple leg kicks to O'Brien's legs from above with his opponent on his back, just punishing his legs. O'Brien tries to get to his feet and score a takedown and Miller latches on a guillotine, passing directly to mount and forces the tap lightning quick!
After an even round one, the hungry Miller came out ready for the finish. He was able to drop O’Brien with a punch standing and would immediately pounce looking for the finish. With 15 of his 18 wins coming by way of a knockout or submission, there has never been any doubt of Miller’s killer instinct for the finish
After being rocked, Cole swarms in for the finish. O’Brien, while dazed, dives for a desperation takedown from his knees. He lazily leaves his head right on the upper torso for Miller to snatch onto, putting your head this lazily while on your knees will scream guillotine for jiu-jitsu players like Miller.
As soon as Miller recognizes the mistake O’Brien has made, he quickly latches his left arm up and around and falls back on the choke. He comes very close to landing in a great position but O’Brien intelligently scrambles and gets into a side control position atop Miller.
Finishing a guillotine choke is very difficult from underneath your opponent when he is in side control. Miller recognizes that and begins to get his feet under O’Brien to get into full guard and, at the very least, half guard. Miller gets full guard and transitions into a body triangle. What the clip doesn’t show is Miller rolling on top and mounting O’Brien.
From the mounted position Miller executes a one arm guillotine choke, as you can see the non choking arm is not clutching the choking arm to tighten the hold. Miller has such suffocating position on top and tight squeeze with the left arm that is able to secure the submission victory.
Cole Miller wins by guillotine choke and now looks forward on his climb back up the lightweight ladder.
In the evenings main event, Chris Lytle and Dan Hardy would both be looking to right their ships in an almost guaranteed exciting throw down. Lytle had already announced his pending retirement and Hardy was looking to survive his 3-fight losing streak that had started when he was trounced by Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.
After three grueling rounds of stand up fighting, the end of the third and final round is where the contest would be decided.
From MMAmania play-by-play:
Round three: Lytle wades in as the crowd chants "USA!" Big left hand connects for Lytle as Hardy stands back, biding his time. Hardy wants to counter and he eats a left hand. Leg kick from Hardy and Lytle clips him with a pair of hooks. Hardy needs to step up the aggression. Nice body punch from Lytle and Hardy bounces on his feet, he needs to do something here. Chris Lytle is stealing this round with his aggression. Lytle ducks under a right hook and goes to the body. Hardy whiffs with a pair of knees and steps forward but he's running out of time. Big exchange and Lytle connects as Hardy responds. Hardy drops for a takedown but WHY? Lytle latches on a guillotine choke and forces a tapout from Hardy. That was the dumbest things Dan Hardy has ever done.
In what many will call a "dumb" decision for years to come, Hardy dove in for a late round, decision stealing takedown. Unfortunately for Hardy he has never been the most technical wrestler.
In the same manner as O’Brien and Miller, Hardy dives in lazily for a takedown. While Lytle was almost guaranteed to be surprised by this unexpected move, he remained composed enough to see the opening. Hardy leaves his head right under the arm pit of Lytle and as Hardy drives down the left arm, Lytle quickly latches around his neck.
Hardy falls into side control, temporarily evading danger of being quickly choked out. Lytle recognizes this, of course, and uses his leg to kick off the cage thrusting upwards and rolling on top of Hardy with the choke still tight. Now with a mounted guillotine choke against a less then accomplished grappler, Lytle sits up very high on the body of Hardy to increase leverage, angle and overall tightness in the choke.
Before you know it, Hardy has no escape route and before it's "Lights Out" for him, he taps and the referee steps in to stop it, awarding the submission victory to Lytle. The UFC veteran rides off into the sunset of retirement with post-fight bonuses and a warrior’s end to a celebrated career.
For more on the guillotine choke check this fanpost out. Until next time, Maniacs.