Neil Davidson / AP
Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011 | 3:30 a.m.
To figure out how highly UFC executives think of Dan Hardy and Chris Lytle, look no further than the positioning of their welterweight bout at Sunday’s UFC on Versus 5 card in Milwaukee.
Hardy and Lytle are both coming off of losses, but their showdown will serve as the main event at the Bradley Center. The UFC chose to feature the two veterans over a lightweight bout between Jim Miller and Ben Henderson that has much more significant title implications.
“They didn’t pick me and Dan to be there to put on a boring fight,” Lytle said. “So if you think I’m going to try to sit there and get him on the ground and hold him down for 15 minutes and then dry hump him, that’s not going to happen. You’re going to get what you pay for — a good fight.”
The 36-year old Lytle (30-18-5 MMA, 9-10 UFC) was on a four-fight winning streak before Brian Ebersole upset him at UFC 127 earlier this year. Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) is enduring the first three-fight losing streak of his career.
Another loss would, in all likelihood, force the UFC to sever ties with the 26-year old from England. Despite the pressure, which Hardy admitted was the most of his career, he has no intentions to play it safe against Lytle.
“I love the risk taking and the gamble in throwing punches at somebody and two of my last three fights have been snoozefests,” Hardy said. “It’s been disappointing and I just don’t like having boring fights.”
Hardy vs. Lytle could come down to who lands the first clean power shot. Oddsmakers seem to think that’s a fair assessment, as most sports books list the fight as a pick’em with both sides at -115 (risking $1.15 to win $1).
Pick: Hardy by knockout
UFC on Versus 5 starts at 2:45 Sunday with facebook streaming the preliminary card before the televised portion begins at 6. Check below for full odds on the card, provided by Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo, and a pick in every fight.
Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller (20-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) vs. Ben Henderson (13-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Line: Miller -160, Henderson +135
Matchup: Miller goes for his eighth straight, which would likely ensure the next lightweight title shot. But the slippery former WEC champion Henderson stands in the way after getting past Mark Bocek via unanimous decision at UFC 129.
Pick: Henderson by decision
Lightweight Bout: Charles Oliveira (14-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. Donald Cerrone (15-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Line: Oliveira -150, Cerrone +120
Matchup: Two well-rounded fighters who are known for exciting styles clash thanks to a series of injuries to the original two opponents in this bout. Both Oliveira and Cerrone fought earlier this summer and came out totally unscathed.
Pick: Oliveira via submission
Welterweight Bout: Amir Sadollah (5-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Duane Ludwig (20-11 MMA, 3-2 UFC)
Line: Sadollah -330, Ludwig +250
Matchup: UFC scheduled this matchup for UFC Fight Night 25 earlier this year, but Ludwig canceled with an injury. Sadollah fought DaMarques Johnson instead and forced him to tap out due to strikes in the second round.
Pick: Sadollah by decision
Middleweight Bout: C.B. Dollaway (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Jared Hamman (12-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC)
Line: Dollaway -220, Hamman +180
Matchup: Looking to follow in a line of successful light heavyweights dropping to 185 pounds, Hamman makes his debut at middleweight. Dollaway is a wrestler with a slick submission game.
Pick: Hamman via decision
Bantamweight Bout: Joseph Benavidez (14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Eddie Wineland (18-7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Line: Benavidez -250, Wineland +200
Matchup: The UFC has welcomed Wineland into its ranks with extremely tough competition. Five months after losing a unanimous decision to bantamweight stalwart Urijah Faber, Wineland encounters his protégé in Benavidez.
Pick: Benavidez by decision
Middleweight Bout: Ed Herman (21-8 MMA, 5-5 UFC) vs. Kyle Noke (19-4-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC)
Line: Herman -120, Noke -110
Matchup: The two fighters have similar strengths — wrestling and boxing — and both were on “The Ultimate Fighter”. But Noke is younger and appeared on the 10th season, while Herman is a veteran of the sport and was on TUF’s third season.
Pick: Noke by decision
Light Heavyweight Bout: Karlos Vemola (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Ronny Markes (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Line: Vemola -240, Markes +190
Matchup: Two prospects clash here, as the 26-year old Vemola settles into the 205-pound division after a drop from heavyweight and the 23-year old Markes makes his UFC debut.
Pick: Vemola by knockout
Featherweight Bout: Alex Cacerces (5-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Jimy Hettes (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Line: Cacerces +210, Hettes -270
Matchup: Caceres has an engaging personality, but hasn’t proven to have the chops to last in the UFC since losing in the semifinals on the 12th season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. Hettes is an undefeated prospect signed after an injury forced veteran Leonard Garcia out of the bout.
Pick: Hettes via submission
Lightweight Bout: Cole Miller (17-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs. T.J. O’Brien (16-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Line: Miller -330, O’Brien +250
Matchup: Miller, a four-year UFC veteran, is on his way down to featherweight but open to at least one more bout at 155 pounds. O’Brien is receiving another chance in the octagon after bailing the UFC out by taking a late notice bout against Dan Kelly last year.
Pick: Miller by submission
Lightweight Bout: Jacob Volkmann (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Danny Castillo (11-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Line: Volkmann -130, Castillo Even
Matchup: Volkmann has won all three of his fights since dropping from 170 to 155 pounds, usually using his strength advantage to outwrestle opponents. Castillo trains with heralded wrestlers like Benavidez and Urijah Faber at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif.
Pick: Castillo by decision
Bantamweight Bout: Edwin Figueroa (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) vs. Jason Reinhardt (20-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC)
Line: Figueroa -270, Reinhardt +210
Matchup: Although he lost, Figueroa’s UFC debut was a smashing success as he lined up against super prospect Michael McDonald at UFC Fight Night 25 and left with a Fight of the Night bonus check. The 41-year old Reinhardt lost in less than a minute by submission against Tiequan Zhang upon returning to the octagon earlier this year at UFC 127.
Pick: Figueroa by TKO