There's a reason why Chris Lytle is main eventing Sunday night's show on Versus. It's the same reason Lytle will probably have a UFC job until Dana White gives him the ol' Chuck Liddell. It all comes down to his style -- one that relies on walking forward and taking punishment in order to deliver his own in return.
We only have to turn the clock back a year to find the ideal Chris Lytle fight. At a rematch of their TUF 4 finale, Lytle and Matt Serra didn't just set the record for significant strikes landed* in a single fight, they destroyed it. From FightMetric:
Congratulations to Chris Lytle and Matt Serra! Their fight at UFC 119 set a new UFC record for most combined significant strikes landed in a single fight. Lytle landed 153 significant strikes and Serra landed 124 for a new record-high of 277. This was a major leap past the previous high of 187, set by Chris Lytle and Paul Taylor at UFC 89. This is also the only fight in UFC history in which both fighters each landed more than 100 significant strikes.
Lytle's modus operandi of violence in volume hasn't always been the case. He floated through his UFC career as mid-card body until UFC 86. There, Josh Koscheck beat a bloodied Lytle around the cage for fifteen minutes. A lady in my viewing party spilled tears of compassion.
Lytle emerged from the fight with the revelation that he would never hold UFC gold, that he would have to rely on crowd-pleasing performance in order to ensure his place in the promotion.
Since that loss, Lytle has landed 73 significant strikes in four of his seven fights, three times hitting the century mark. He submitted his opponents (Matt Brown and Brian Foster) in two of the remaining three bouts.
His performance in his most recent bout -- Brian Ebersole at UFC 127 -- is anything but Lytle. He landed 24 significant strikes (56 total strikes for the bout) and lost a decision as a 3-1 favorite. Then it's revealed that Lytle had surgery four weeks prior...to remove injured meniscus in his right knee.
And that's the sort of thing that's going to keep him in Zuffa's good graces.
* - FightMetric defines significant strikes as "all strikes at distance and power strikes in the clinch and on the ground."