A more well-rounded version of Dan Hardy than we’ve seen before clinched a decision win over Amir Sadollah at ‘UFC On Fuel TV 5’.
Despite Hardy getting a big backing from the Nottingham fans Sadollah wasn’t phased and he was the more pro-active fighter in the opening minute, firing off a few punches and kicks.
That perhaps suited Hardy as he works best of the counter, and indeed his first significant strike landed was his trademark counter-hook which gave Sadollah pause for thought.
Having now found his range Hardy was able to land a few more hooks as Sadollah continued to press forwad, and that resulted in his opponent switching things up, rushing in and clinching up with him against the cage.
A little back and forth clinch work against the cage commenced, before the two men broke free again. Hardy landed a nice combination in close, but then Sadollah fired back, landing a couple of solid uppercuts that resulted in Hardy looking to clinch.
In the closing seconds of the round Hardy suprisingly looked to land a takedown, but the two men got tangled up and fell to the mat awkwardly as the bell sounded.
The pace picked up early in the second round as Hardy began to get more offensive, with Sadollah happy to meet him half-way.
Both men connected with punches and kicks, with Hardy landing the harder of the blows. Hardy landed a nice combination that backed up Sadollah and then immediately swooped down looking for another takedown. This time he was able to hoist Sadollah up and dump him down to the mat.
He wasn’t able to keep him their for long though and soon after they were back to trading on the feet.
Clearly Hardy’s been working on his wrestling as he then landed another nice takdown as Sadollah tried to rush him with strikes.
The Brit started to get off some strikes, but Sadollah began working for a possible submission and that forced him to retreat a little, and that’s where the round ended.
The two met in the center of the cage at the beginning of the third round and went back to trading strikes. Sadollah landed a glancing front kick to the face, but Hardy shook his head, indicating it hadn’t hurt him.
Hardy attempted another takedown but Sadollah stalls him against the cage. They break apart and while nothing signficant appears to have landed Sadollah is suddenly sporting a cut or two on his face.
A punch from Hardy seems to hurt Sadollah and smelling blood he charges forward with big hooks and then transitions nice to a takedown.
‘The Outlaw’ lands some hard ground and pound elbows making Sadollah bloodying up his face even more. He’s having to proceed with caution though as Sadollah’s looking to get his legs up for a submission.
Eventually Sadollah works back to his feet, but he’s then met with a hard left and right hook from Hardy who uses that to blast into another takedown attempt against the cage. Sadollah stays on his feet against the cage this time though, and the final seconds tick away, meaning we’re heading to the judges scorecards.
They are unanimous in their verdict for Hardy (29-28 x2, 30-27).
With this victory, his second in a row, Hardy has finally put distance between himself and a nightmare four-fight losing streak between 2010 and 2011.
Importantly it seems that he has been focusing on shoring up the weaknesses in his game and his wrestling was the main difference between the two men tonight.