Within four minutes of work at UFC 146, Dan Hardy may have redeemed himself in the eyes of fight fans everywhere. His KO victory over Duane Ludwig stopped his 0-4 slide and came in particularly impressive fashion.
After a much ballyhooed title shot against Georges St. Pierre, Dan Hardy was knocked out by Carlos Condit in the first round, controlled by a much bigger Anthony Johnson for a decision loss and submitted by Chris Lytle after a disastrous takedown attempt. Only Steve Cantwell had lost more in a row and stayed employed within the modern UFC. This was basically Hardy's do or die moment and he came through.
After some back and forth striking mixed with two half-hearted Hardy takedown attempts, a left hook by Hardy knocked down Ludwig and a series of follow-up elbows sliced Ludwig's skin open and left him unable to defend himself. The referee stepped in at that point and the bout ended at nearly the four minute mark.
What was the high spot of this fight?
Hardy's stutter-step right hook feint to crashing left hook (coffee-cup style) that landed squarely on Ludwig's jaw and knocked Bang silly. The elbows as follow-up were nicely placed and delivered, but did not quite have the visceral impact that the hook did. It was a mighty punch.
Where do these guys go from here?
Somehow, Hardy has a hold on the UFC matchmakers and the fans. Giving him a grinding wrestler is not going to be in their interests, so I pick John Maguire, who just beat DaMarques Johnson last month. This is all assuming that Matt Hughes is going to stay out of the cage a while yet, because if he does come back, Dan Hardy's barbed words towards him would make this a rather nice capstone match for Hughes' career and to suss where Hardy is at in terms of overall skill package.
Ludwig got beaten fair and square in his wheelhouse of MMA striking. That's okay. A bit of a rest to allow the head trauma to subside is in order and he can come back with a bout against Che Mills, who is also resting after a loss to Rory MacDonald.
Watch it now, later or never?
Definitely now. It was relatively even and then Hardy exploded with that stutter-step hook. Just a beautiful piece of violence by the mohawked one.
After the jump, all the related UFC 146 links you could want.