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Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 | 4:45 p.m.
Note: Full results from UFC on FUEL TV 5 are listed at the bottom of the page.
Dan Hardy can stop telling everyone about his progression as a fighter now.
The local welterweight showed the strides he’s made over the past year in a unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over Amir Sadollah at UFC on FUEL TV 5.
Hardy showcased his already-stellar striking but also displayed his improved wrestling in the co-main event of the card in his hometown, Nottingham, England. The former top contender took Sadollah down multiple times in the final 10 minutes of the bout.
“I like brawling as much as all you guys,” Hardy said to the crowd at Capital FM Arena after the win. “But I’ve got to be smart, got to be sensible and got to pick my shots.”
Hardy makes it sound like he didn’t excel in the striking department. He did.
After Sadollah out-landed him in the first round, “The Outlaw” began to find his range and power. He opened multiple cuts on Sadollah’s face and used his combinations to set up takedowns.
The second and third rounds went clearly in Hardy’s favor to give him his second victory in a row. To roaring applause, Hardy declared the win the best moment of his career.
He can’t imagine anything passing it, either, unless it involves winning a championship belt.
“That’s the only thing that would be better than this,” Hardy said.
The bloody 15-minute co-main event came in the middle of a number of fights with early stoppages. In the main event, Stefan Struve upset Stipe Miocic with a knockout at 3:50 of the second round.
After losing the first round, Struve rocked Miocic several times before finishing him off with a combination punctuated by an uppercut. The 6-foot-11 heavyweight is nearing title contention after winning four fights in a row.
“Four finishes,” Struve added. “Dana (White) said I’m about top five in the world, so I’m pretty proud as a 24-year-old.”
An uppercut also worked for Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who knocked out Yves Jabouin at 3:40 of the first round. In the other upset on the main card, lightweight veteran Matt Wiman handed British submission king Paul Sass the first loss of his professional career.
The fighters took turns with submission attempts, but Wiman locked in a successful armbar at 3:48 of the first round that forced Sass to tap out. The win brought Wiman, who had missed a year with injuries, to tears.
“I was definitely more nervous and had a lot of respect for a guy who had never lost before,” Wiman said. “To beat him, you have to take it from him. You can’t just go in there and try to break him.”
Check below for the rest of the results from UFC on FUEL TV 5.
Che Mills beat Duane Ludwig by TKO (injury stoppage) at 2:28 of the first round. Ludwig collapsed to the ground after appearing to seriously hurt his knee.
Light-heavyweight Jimi Manuwa became the second highly touted European to debut in the UFC with a victory on the card. Manuwa defeated Kyle Kingsbury by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at the end of the second round. Manuwa nearly finished Kingsbury, whose eye was swollen shut, multiple times in the first 10 minutes.
Controversy reared its head in the fourth fight of the night. Despite a glut of media and fan scores to the contrary, Akira Corassani defeated Andy Ogle by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30) in a featherweight bout.
Las Vegas-based “Ultimate Fighter” veteran Brad Tavares improved his UFC record to 4-1. Tavares defeated middleweight newcomer Tom “Kong” Watson by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29).
Gunnar Nelson’s long-awaited UFC debut went according to plan. Nelson submitted fellow welterweight DaMarques Johnson at 3:34 of the first round with a rear-naked choke. The fight was contested at a catchweight of 183 pounds after Johnson took the fight on less than two weeks’ notice.
Robbie Peralta knocked out Jason Young in 23 seconds with a right hand in their featherweight bout.