UFC on Fuel TV 5 Results: What Went Right for Dan Hardy

James MacDonald@@JimMacDonaldMMAFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2012

Courtesy of Sherdog
Courtesy of Sherdog

When did Dan Hardy turn into an NCAA All-American wrestler with a potent power double?

OK, so that might be a slight exaggeration. Still, I think you get the point. It would appear that Dan Hardy has learned how to wrestle.

The Brit put his considerable MMA skills on display in his decision victory over Amir Sadollah tonight at UFC on Fuel 5.

Before we get carried away, it’s worth pointing out that Sadollah doesn’t exactly boast BJ Penn-like takedown defence. The TUF 7 winner has been on his back more often than, well…I’ll avoid any obscene metaphors, but I think you get the picture

I said yesterday that we probably wouldn’t learn anything new about “The Outlaw” during tonight’s contest, but I may have spoken a little too soon.

While I was right not to expect the Nottingham native’s sprawl to be put to the test, we did witness a more complete game from Hardy.

It wasn’t just that he seemingly took Sadollah down at will, but rather it was the way that he mixed up his strikes with some brilliantly timed level changes.

Perhaps more impressive still was the potency of Hardy’s ground-and-pound from the guard. His elbows were highly effective—one might say Jon Jones-esque. Indeed, Sadollah’s face looked like it had been assaulted by an ice pick.

“The Outlaw’s” standup looked as sharp as one might expect. He used his angles well to counter the more linear attack of his opponent, while putting together some crisp combinations, particularly in Rounds 2 and 3.

Hardy is arguably still a touch left-hook happy at times, but one can hardly blame him for enthusiastically throwing out that powerful left paw when it lands with such frequency. Moreover, he complemented his primary weapon with some beautiful right hands.

One glaring issue is the Brit’s aversion to any sort of head movement. Although he has a formidable chin, offering a stationary target to a skilled striker not only looks bad in the judges' eyes, but it can also lead to an early night if the opponent carries sufficient power (see: Hardy’s bout with Carlos Condit).

That issue aside, “The Outlaw” looked outstanding in his victory over Amir Sadollah tonight. We got to see the fighter that so many of us have grown to appreciate over the years, in addition to the pleasant surprise of some much-needed new wrinkles to his game.

The future looks brighter than ever for Dan Hardy.