|ESPN.com: Mixed Martial Arts||[Print without images]|
Before he stepped into the Octagon on Sunday night at Bradley Center in Milwaukee, welterweight slugger Chris Lytle announced it would be his last fight.
The man standing across from him in the cage, Dan Hardy, was fighting to keep his UFC career alive.
Lytle won't be coming back to UFC, and it is very like Hardy won't either.
For the fourth time in a row, Hardy failed to leave the Octagon victorious. After going toe-to-toe for nearly three full rounds, Lytle applied a choke that forced Hardy to tap at 4:16 of the third round.
Lytle leaves the UFC to devote more time to his family. But his performance will be remembered for a long time.
He and Hardy kept their promise to put on an entertaining fight. Each man landed punishing strikes and neither took a backward step.
But in the final minute of the bout, Hardy found himself inside a Lytle guillotine and could not escape.
It was a fitting end to a career that saw Lytle compile a record of 31-18-5.
I honestly love being a fighter. I love being part of the UFC," Lytle said. "I probably love it more than anything in my life, except for one thing and that's my family.
"It is time for me to dedicate more time to them. Although it pains me, I am definitely making the right choice."
Hardy might find the decision UFC makes about his future painful. The former top 170-pounder has not won a fight since November 2009 and his overall record has slipped to 23-10 with one no contest.
|Chew on this: Ben Henderson gave Jim Miller more than a few servings of leather for three rounds.|
The only thing Jim Miller had to do was beat Ben Henderson and a lightweight title shot was assured to him.
But Henderson refused to be anyone's stepping stone. The former WEC 155-pound champion handed Miller the worst defeat of his career.
The judges scored it 30-27, 29-28 and 30-26. ESPN.com scored the fight 30-27 for Henderson.
Henderson was too fast and too strong for Miller, who carried a seven-fight win streak going into the bout. Miller was so thoroughly outclassed in the standup in which he relied almost exclusively on submission attempts. But Henderson never lost his cool when placed in a vulnerable position. He simply responded with hard punches to Miller's body.
By the second round, Miller's face was a bloody mess.
"I beat people up, it's what I do," Henderson said after handing Miller the third loss of his professional career.
Henderson is now 2-0 inside the UFC. He is 14-2 overall.
Miller goes back to the drawing board with a record of 20-3.
|Donald Cerrone proved too much for the lesser-experienced Charles Oliveira.|
Charles Oliveira is a very promising lightweight, but his best days are in the future, as the more experienced Donald Cerrone proved by stopping Oliveira via first-round TKO.
A left to the midsection floored Oliveira, who is 0-2 with one no contest in his past three fights. When Olveira went down, Cerrone began unleashing left and right punches.
The referee jumped in and called this bout off at the 3:01 mark.
"This was a good style matchup for me," Cerrone said. "I knew he was going to be right there in my face."
With the victory, Cerrone improved to 16-3, with one no contest. He has won five fights in a row.
Oliveira saw his professional record fall to 14-2, with one no contest.
|Duane Ludwig's superior kickboxing skills helped him earn the nod over Amir Sadollah.|
Duane Ludwig possesses solid Muay Thai skills, but his game has improved far beyond striking as he proved by using his punching and kicking techniques to bust up Amir Sadollah en route to a unanimous decision.
All three judges scored this welterweight bout 29-28 for Ludwig, who also displayed improved takedown defense against Sadollah.
"I've been doing this this since I was 15," said Ludwig, who won his 21 professional fights against 11 losses. "Not to be boastful, but I'm good at what I do.
"I'm not playing. I'm a mixed martial artist."
Sadollah came on strong in the final round, but it was too little too late. His record now stands at 5-3.
Jared Hamman made his middleweight debut a successful one, stopping CB Dollaway at 3:38 of the second round.
The former light heavyweight, who had dropped two of his three light heavyweight bouts before taking on Dollaway at 185 pounds, was the fresher fighter in the second round.
Dollway had a solid opening round, where he landed several hard strikes and nearly submitted Hamman. But he was overwhelmed by Hamman in the second round.
"I have the greatest coaches in the world," Hamman said. "I'm not very good, but those guys believe in me.
"It's my coaches. That's the only reason why I'm good."
Hamman improved to 12-3; while Dollaway has dropped two straight and is 11-4 overall.
Jacob Volkmann extended his winning streak to four with a unanimous decision over Danny Castillo.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Volkmann. ESPN.com had Volkmann winning 30-27.
Volkmann caused a stir after defeating Antonio McKee in January, when he asked to fight President Barack Obama. He made no reference to the President after improving to 13-2.
Castillo (11-4) had success standing, but the majority of this fight was fought on the ground. Volkmann, the better submission tactician attempted to submit Castillo several times in the bout.
Bantamweight Edwin Figueroa picked up his first UFC win with a second-round TKO of Jason Reinhardt. Figueroa (8-1-0) lost his UFC debut by unanimous decision to Michael McDonald in March.
But his superior standup skills proved too much for Reinhardt, who refused to engage in the striking game. When on the ground, Figueroa landed several hard right hands that rendered Reinhardt defenseless.
The fight was stopped at 50 seconds of the second round. Reinhardt (20-3-0) has now lost two in a row.Franklin McNeil covers mixed martial arts and boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Franklin_McNeil.