In welterweight action on Saturday's UFC 127 main card, thirty-six year old, fifty-two fight veteran Chris Lytle (30-17-5, 9-9 UFC) takes on late replacement Brian Ebersole (46-14-1-1, 0-0 UFC) in what was originally a marquee battle between Lytle and Carlos Condit. Surprisingly, Lytle has been outdone in total career bouts as Ebersole boasts a sixty-two fight career that spans eleven years in the sport, not a single fight under the UFC banner or a highly-reputable promotion. Despite some wins over notable fighters such as Nick Thompson, Matt Horwich, Alex Serdyukov, and Eddie Sanchez, Ebersole has never competed on a show of considerable size and reach like the UFC.
Lytle enters Saturday's fight riding a four-fight winning streak, submitting Brian Foster and Matt Brown while edging out Kevin Burns and Matt Serra. While his .500 record may be an indication that he isn't a valued asset under the typical mindset that victories equal greatness, he has won seven bonuses under the UFC banner, lending credence to the idea that Lytle may be one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.
A victory over Condit would have most assuredly catapulted Lytle into the running for a match-up with another contender. Unfortunately, he may have to settle with a win over a lesser opponent that may not give him a much deserved push to the top.
On paper, Ebersole has all the tools to be dangerous in this showdown. He's more prone to going to the ground, but he has had success in the past on the feet as well. Obviously, Lytle's boxing background and success in stand-up game would deter that type of gameplan. For Ebersole, the ground game is his best shot at upsetting the Indiana native.
Unfortunately, the short notice nature of his entry into the UFC hurts his chances drastically, especially considering the fact that Lytle was preparing for a proven adversary in Carlos Condit. Furthermore, Lytle is far from a slouch on the ground, and his striking should be miles ahead of anything Ebersole can offer. If you can look past those advantages, Lytle probably gets a check mark in the intangibles category as well as he's a tough nut to crack for any high-level fighter.
Lytle should be able to keep this fight standing, giving him enough time to bomb Ebersole and finish him off on the feet. I have no doubt that Ebersole can provide a stiff challenge on the ground, but it's going to take an incredible effort for him to topple Lytle and work him over for three rounds of action. Lytle's striking is far too superior for that to happen consistently. Lytle via TKO.