In an evening that featured several thrilling comebacks, veteran Josh Neer may have had the most impressive one of all against Duane Ludwig in the co-main event of the first-ever UFC on FX show last night (Jan. 20, 2012) in Nashville, Tennessee.
Neer was battered and bruised badly by Ludwig, a former Muay Thai kickboxing champion who now holds the fasted knockout in UFC history.
Things were starting to get ugly for the Iowan, but then he turned the tides in dramatic fashion, not just winning the fight, but emphatically putting his opponent to sleep.
So how did Neer shift the momentum? And what's next for both fighters? Let's find out:
From the early onset of the fight, it was obvious that Ludwig had a significant striking advantage. Neer pushed forward with both hands up but repeatedly was getting tagged by the Grudge fighter's precision punches. "Bang" even stumbled Neer early with a left hand and proceeded to blast him with knees to the body as he attempted to recover.
"The Dentist" attempted a body lock to secure a takedown, but Ludwig fended him off and responded with a huge knee. Both men exchanged big blows but again, Ludwig got the better of it and then pressed forward with big knees to the body which seemed to hurt the scrappy Iowan.
Neer continued to absorb some big strikes to the head and body, but he finally grabbed a single leg and turned the corner, putting "Bang" on his back. Ludwig obviously wants to get back to his feet, but in his haste, he turtled on his way up and completely left his neck exposed.
Seeing the neck ripe for the picking, Neer immediately latched on a guillotine choke which was so tight that Ludwig didn't even have time to tap out, going unconscious in just five seconds. It was one of the tightest chokes you'll ever see.
For Duane Ludwig, he's got to be frustrated with what happened. He was on a nice win streak and was just brutalizing Neer in the stand-up exchanges with his punches and knees. He's made strides in his wrestling and takedown defense, but once he was put on his back, it was likely only a matter of time before he was submitted. Scrambling to his feet while leaving his neck completely exposed like that was a rookie mistake on the ground.
I'd think Ludwig would be the perfect opponent for Dan Hardy's comeback fight in the welterweight division as both men are entertaining strikers who likely won't want to go to the ground. Other possible opponents for "Bang" include Claude Patrick and Carlos Eduardo Rocha.
For Josh Neer, he's now 2-0 in his fourth stint in the UFC. His striking showed some serious holes, but he was tough enough to absorb the damage and impose his will and then submit his opponent. Neer surprised me as I thought he would be too stubborn and would stand and trade with Ludwig for too long, but he only kept the fight standing long enough to close the distance and score a takedown. On the ground, it was his world and he latched onto that guillotine choke with excellent technique.
Neer apparantely called out Brian Ebersole after his fight, so that would be an intriguing potential match-up. Other potential opponents for "The Dentist" include Seth Baczynski or potentially Mike Pyle. Whoever he faces, Neer will likely continue to put on exciting fights, which is why he keeps getting invited back to the promotion.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did Neer pull this out with superior technique, or did Ludwig blow it? Did anything happen in this fight that surprised you?