Chris Lytle was the clear favorite heading into his fight with Brian Ebersole, but the late replacement had a few tricks up his sleeve and produced an upset.
Ebersole’s eccentric style was clear from the off when he attempted a cartwheel kick, but Lytle was wise to it and covered up.
From their the first round was pretty much all Lytle as he threw a few bombs in Ebersole’s direction and then began an assault on his neck, locking up three deep guillotine attempts, but on each occasion Ebersole escaped, showing excellent submission defense.
Towards the end of the round he finds himself on top and landed a few strikes, opening up a cut on Lytle, but then bizarrely gets up and walks to his corner seconds before the bell rings, missing out on the chance to inflict more damage.
In the second round Ebersole again appeared to be coming off second best in the stand-up until Ebersole managed to send him back against the cage and then connected cleanly with a knee to Lytle’s chin which took his legs out from under him.
Ebersole pounces on his dazed opponent and tries to lock up a d’arce choke, but Lytle eventually gets free and briefly back to his feet before finding himself back on the mat with Ebersole dropping elbows and even the occasional shoulder to finish off a big round for him.
Another cartwheel kick marks the start of round three, but Lytle is unfazed and moves forward with offensive strikes of his own. The second round appears to have taken it’s toll on the UFC veteran though and he seems tired as he attempts to go back to his first round strategy of working for submissions.
After Lytle fails with yet more guillotine attempts Ebersole starts to get the better of the action, initiating a clinch and landing a solid elbow strike, and then taking Lytle down in the final minute, and bloodying him up a little with ground and pound.
The judges then render their decision, and it’s Ebersole who gets the unanimous decision nod in his UFC debut.
This was a significant upset, though Ebersole is an experienced fighter. The knee he landed during the second round was the game-changer, and Lytle, who up until that point had been winning, struggled to get back in the fight afterwards.
The result brings an end to Lytle’s four fight unbeaten run, and at 36 years of age perhaps put an end to his chances of one day fighting for the belt.