Martin McNeil for SB Nation
It wasn't the Dan Hardy you're used to seeing but "The Outlaw" grappled his way past Amir Sadollah with a dominant performance at UFC on FUEL TV 5 in front of his hometown fans.
That's why he was booked to throw leather with former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner Amir Sadollah in the co-main event of the UFC on FUEL TV 5: "Struve vs. Miocic" show today (Sat., Sept. 29, 2012) at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England.
The crowd cheered boisterously for its hometown hero, chanting his name frequently while he exchanged punches with his foe, which happened quite a bit in the opening frame. That was until Sadollah got tired of getting tagged with the fade-away left hand and clinched up against the cage.
They battled to the first horn and it was basically a stalemate, one cancelling out the other.
The pacing was slower in the second and even featured Hardy picking Sadollah up and slamming him to the floor while color commentator Kenny Florian talked about how good it was to see "The Outlaw" work another aspect of his game other than striking.
It didn't do much for him, of course, other than score a few points. That's important in any fight, however, and Hardy continued utilizing his wrestling game by grabbing another takedown. This time, though, he actually came crashing down with a few elbows to emphasize his point.
"I'm better than you."
That was probably his point. Maybe.
That's probably why he stuck to that game plan in the final round, electing to grapple with Sadollah in lieu of standing and trading punches. I guess a victory on points was more important than risking a loss standing and banging, even if it came in front of his hometown fans.
To satiate any bloodlust from the English fanbase, Hardy opened Amir up with elbows and had him leaky like a faucet while raining down punishment.
It's not the Dan Hardy you're used to but it's a much better, far more well rounded Dan Hardy who wins, even if it's only by unanimous decision.
That's what counts.
Remember to check out complete UFC on FUEL TV 5 results of the entire card by clicking here.