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History in the Making: 'Lights Out' Chris Lytle just wants to entertain you

Without any empirical evidence, it's safe to say that on any given day, there are dozens upon dozens of people taking their first step in mixed martial arts (MMA) training.

Whether it be joining a school, stepping onto the mats for their first training session, or even vowing to start eating better and jogging around to block to make the previous two steps even easier, a lot of people are actively participating in the sport.

Of all those people, a small margin will actually train in hopes of fighting one day. Stepping inside the cage and testing their mettle against another human being is an act reserved for a very special breed of people. This small percentage, though, is still a pretty considerable number.

And of those people, 99.999% will never reach their ultimate goal: UFC gold. Most won't even make it to the Octagon.

Then there's Chris Lytle.

No one will ever mistake him for a world beater and if you got an honest answer from the man himself, he'd probably agree with the sentiment. But he can sure can scrap and has made for some entertaining bouts during his tenure with the UFC.

Another fan-friendly match-up is in store for "Lights Out" as he takes on Dan Hardy in the main event of next Sunday's (August 14) UFC Live card.

Before these two brawlers step inside the Octagon, let's take a look at Lytle's three straight Fight of the Nights when he took on Paul Taylor, Marcus Davis, and Kevin Burns.

Let's go!

"Lights Out" made his inauspicious debut way back at UFC 28 in 2000. He lost a unanimous decision that night and it would be another three years before he was invited back.

When he was, he took on a young Robbie Lawler in a fight that almost set the template for the most recent stretch of Lytle's career. The two slugged it out for three rounds but in the end, it was "Ruthless" whose arm was raised.

The Indiana-native finally picked up his first UFC win several months later and then chalked up his second before losing to Karo Parisyan in early 2005. Losing to "The Heat" -- especially back then -- was nothing to be ashamed of but it was evident that Lytle couldn't hang with the upper echelon of the 170-pound division.

After a loss to Joe Riggs earned him his walking papers, "Lights Out" was brought back as a member of The Ultimate Fighter's (TUF) fourth season. Dubbed "The Comeback," the entire cast was made up of fighters who had previously fought inside the Octagon but were cut.

Matt Serra -- as everyone knows -- won and ended up beating Georges St. Pierre in the biggest upset in the history of the sport but it was Lytle who "The Terror" edged out via split decision in the finals. "Light Outs" was one judge away from getting a shot at something every fighter dreams of but will likely never get.

Loss to Matt Hughes, Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck -- but finished by none of them -- further cemented the fact that Lytle was good but not great. His other two fights inside the Octagon though were wins and exciting wins at that. A Submission and Knockout of the Night at UFC 73 and 81 respectively helped "Lights Out" put an extra 100 grand into his checking account.

It seems like it was then that a conscious choice was made by Lytle. A title shot will likely never be in the cards but having those extra zeros on a bank statement sure is nice.

Starting at UFC 89, Lytle won three consecutive Fight of the Night awards and earned himself yet another 100 grand for his efforts.

First, there was Paul Taylor who for most of his UFC tenure has been used to beef up events across the Atlantic. The two fighters immediately began swinging for the fences, each cracking the other cleanly a few times. The rest of the round was a grinding affair, spent along the cage.

The first five minutes set a blueprint for the second and third rounds. The two would come out guns a-blazin' but cooler heads prevailed and the fight would eventually become a battle of attrition. 

"Lights Out" earned the decision win that night and went on to Marcus Davis, no stranger to performance bonuses himself. Their bout at UFC 93 wasn't pretty or all that technical but it was a ton of fun.

The Indianapolis fighter survived getting knocked down in the first round to put "The Irish Hand Grenade" in trouble early in the second. But as is often the case with these types of slugfests, one strike can turn things around quickly.

A perfectly placed body kick from Davis floored Lytle for the second time but somehow "Lights Out" finds it in him to continue.

A split decision was awarded to Davis but even in a loss, Lytle's newfound reputation as a fan-friendly slugger became even more solidified. You want an exciting fight? Chris Lytle is your man.

His third consecutive Fight of the Night was helped along by Kevin Burns at the TUF 9 Finale. It was one of three fights that night that earned honors as Diego Sanchez's tilt with Clay Guida and Joe Stevenson's bout with Nate Diaz also netted those four fighters $25,000.

Three bonuses in eight months. Over $100,000.

Fighters are often unfairly critiqued for "sloppy kickboxing" but not every fight can be a physical chess match, full of technique and smart gameplanning between two top-level fighters.

That's where someone like Chris Lytle comes in.

His fights are fun. He fights to entertain you.

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