The co-main event of this Saturday's "UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama," former world title challenger Dan Hardy returns home to face former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit in a key 170-pound clash. Here is MMA For Real's preview of the fight:
Record: 23-7-0 (1 NC) overall, 4-1-0 UFC
Key wins: Marcus Davis (UFC 99), Mike Swick (UFC 105)
Key losses: David Baron (CWFC, 2H2H), Forrest Petz (FightFest 2), Georges St. Pierre (UFC 111)
How he got here: After rolling to four straight wins to open his UFC career, Dan Hardy was dominated in the biggest fight of his career, dropping a five-round unanimous decision to St. Pierre in March at UFC 111. Hardy was throughly dominated, but not finished, as the scorecards read 50-43, 50-44 and 50-45. Prior to that fight, Hardy had won seven in a row and has found a prominent spot as one of the UFC's British stars.
How he gets it done: Primarily a striker, 11 of Hardy's 23 wins have come by KO or TKO. Eight have come by decision and four have come by submission, but of those four, only one was via a true submission hold. Two came from punches and one from injury. Against UFC competition, though, Hardy's finishing rate, which was 74 percent outside the UFC, has dipped to 25 percent, with only one finish in four fights.
X-Factor: How will Hardy respond to being throughly drubbed by St. Pierre? If his talk leading into this fight is any indication, he shouldn't have any problems. As we all know, though, it's completely different once you step into the cage.
Record: 25-5-0, 2-1-0 UFC
Key wins: Frank Trigg (ROTR 9), John Alessio (WEC 26), Brock Larson (WEC 29), Jake Ellenberger (UFC Fight Night 19)
Key losses: Jake Shields (ROTR 9), Pat Healy (Extreme Wars 3), Martin Kampmann (UFC Fight Night 18)
How he got here: A former WEC welterweight champion, Carlos Condit defended his title three times before the WEC welterweight division was folded into the UFC. Condit is 2-1 in his first two UFC fights with the only loss coming in extremely close fashion to Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 18 in April 2009. Since, Condit has rebounded with solid wins against Jake Ellenberger and Rory MacDonald. Now he heads overseas to fight for the first time in nearly four years to face Hardy in London.
How he gets it done: Condit is extremely well-rounded, having finished the fight in 24 of his 25 wins. Eleven of those have come by KO or TKO and 13 by submission. His only career decision win was against Ellenberger, who has only been stopped once in a 28-fight career. From the onset of his career, Condit has consistently finished fights in different methods, with different submissions and different strikes. This makes Condit a handful for any fighter.
X-Factor: What Condit needs to avoid in this fight in the slow starts he got off to against both Ellenberger and MacDonald. Both fighters battered Condit before he came from behind to pick up victories in both fights. If Condit does that against Hardy, he might not be able to survive to make a comeback. As the competition level picks up, the room for error obviously is thinner. Condit played with fire and survived in those fights. He cannot do that here.
Bottom line: Condit has more ways to finish the fight, but what's impressive here is that these two, in 61 career fights combined, have never been stopped by strikes. Condit doesn't have a penchant for going to decisions, but that's where I see this one heading. It's tough to imagine Condit submitting Hardy, because St. Pierre couldn't do it, although St. Pierre admitted to not having a killer instinct. I see Condit having no problem locking something up and yanking if it comes down to that. This is a very intriguing and interesting fight that Condit will take by decision.
Who do you think's going to win? Let us know in the poll and express why in the comments section!