Dan Hardy stopped the bleeding in May. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Dan Hardy (24-10, 5-4 UFC) vs. Amir Sadollah (6-3, 6-3 UFC)
The Matchup: Once upon a time, Hardy was a 170-pound title contender lauded for his toughness in lasting five rounds against pound-for-pound stalwart Georges St. Pierre. These days, he is simply a survivor. The outspoken Brit stopped a four-fight skid at UFC 146 with a rousing knockout victory over fellow standup artist Duane Ludwig. The win came just in time; instead of being forced to cut “The Outlaw,” the promotion was able to give him a co-main event bout in his home country.
Hardy has managed to stick around for as long as he has because he recognizes the fans’ need to be entertained, and it was not as if he was losing to nobodies: St. Pierre, Chris Lytle, current interim champion Carlos Condit and the massive Anthony Johnson make for a formidable quartet of foes. Hardy is at his best when paired with someone who is willing to stand and trade with him on the feet.
Despite his last outing -- a tepid clinch battle against Jorge Lopez in which he offered little in the way of meaningful offense -- Sadollah is that guy. Hardy and Sadollah struggle against powerful wrestlers capable of holding them down and controlling the fight. A takedown-heavy affair is not in the forecast here, so both men will be free to let fly.
Sadollah is the better-rounded striker of the two. He possesses smooth muay Thai technique and does a good job landing with accuracy and volume. The Throwdown representative fluidly mixes a variety of attacks, utilizing punches, kicks, knees and elbows to rack up points. Hardy, meanwhile, wields the superior knockout power; his left hook, which ended Ludwig’s night, is particularly dangerous. The Englishman has decent kicks, but he will often abandon them and rely exclusive on his boxing. Hardy’s reputation as a one-shot knockout artist is a bit misleading. Though he does have 12 such victories to his credit, his stoppage of Ludwig was his first since a knockout of Rory Markham in his second Octagon appearance.
Clinch work will also be key. Sadollah has good knees and elbows in tie-ups, while Hardy has proven capable of landing solid punches in close quarters. It is here that Sadollah might look to change the location of the fight, as his offensive submission skills could give Hardy problems on the canvas.
The Pick: Hardy has the better chance of ending festivities with a big punch, but this is a deceptively difficult fight for the hometown favorite. As long as he can keep his chin away from Hardy’s left hook, Sadollah is skilled enough to take home a decision victory.
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