On Sunday night for the first time in its nearly 18 year history, the UFC made its way to the land of bratwurst and brew, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While the city delivered the eats, the UFC delivered the treats, as the night was filled with entertaining fights from top to bottom. However, the star of the night was simply Chris 'Lights Out' Lytle.
Lytle (41-18-4, 3 KO's 22 subs), fighting in his record tying 20th and last fight in the octagon, officially announced the day before he was retiring after a 13 year career in MMA. That does not count a career in the squared circle as a professional boxer as well where he amassed a record of (13-1, 7 KO's). His opponent in his last fight was the always dangerous Dan 'The Outlaw' Hardy (23-10, 11 KO's 4 subs)
In typical Chris Lytle fashion, he went out swinging for the fences only to end up adding to his submission total as he won via guillotine choke late in the third round. Ironically, it was Hardy who made the mistake of taking Lytle down at the end after they traded shots for the first 14 minutes. A five-time fight of the night winner and one of the most popular fighters in UFC history, it was fitting and classy that the Milwaukee crowd gave him a standing ovation during his post fight interview. "Thank you Chris Lytle for all the great fights and memories."
The co-main event of the evening featured two of the top contenders in the lightweight (155 lbs.) division. Jim Miller (20-3, 3 KO's 11 subs), riding a seven-fight win streak, was dominated over three rounds by Benson 'Smooth' Henderson (14-2, 2 KO's 8 subs). In the process, Miller not only lost the fight, but his chance at a title shot as he was clearly the number one contender going in. Meanwhile, Henderson a former World Extreme Cagefighting champion is now (2-0) since coming to the UFC.
In one of the most anticipated fights of the night, Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone (16-3, 1 KO 12 subs) used a perfectly thrown upper cut to the solar plexus (mid-section) to drop highly touted Charles Oliveira (14-2, 6 KO's, 7 subs). That proved the beginning of the end for the young Brazilian lightweight standout as Cerrone wasted no time in jumping on him with punches in bunches. At three minutes of the first round the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight giving Cerrone his first TKO victory.
The first fight of the main card featured welterweights (170 lbs.) Amir Sadollah (6-3, 2 subs) and Duane 'Bang' Ludwig (29-11, 10 KO's 6 subs) in a very pleasing Muay Thai styled affair, which saw Ludwig come away the victor. Using his superior experience, especially as a former Muay Thai world champion, Ludwig put on a clinic in striking and take down defense winning a unanimous decision.
In closing, the fight card was overshadowed by the shocking news that renowned MMA trainer Shawn Tompkins passed away earlier in the day at the much too young age of 37. While specifics haven't come out a/o yet, according to sources close to Tompkins, he apparently was in his native Canada when he didn't awaken from his sleep. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Shawn Tompkins on multiple occasions and am saddened not only by the news, but because he was always a class act and joy to talk to. May God bless his family during this difficult time and he rest in peace.