Lytle wins, then retires, in UFC's Milwaukee debut
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chris Lytle got Dan Hardy into a choke hold and forced him to tap out in the third round, winning the main event Sunday night in the UFC's first appearance in Wisconsin.
Then the Indianapolis firefighter said goodbye to the sport, telling the crowd that it would be his final fight.
The Wisconsin card was made possible when the state government decided to formally sanction mixed martial arts events.
A fired-up crowd filled the lower bowl at the Bradley Center, home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. The upper deck was closed off, with giant video screens showing every punch, kick and submission hold while the arena's sound system pumped out a steady stream of eardrum-shattering anthems.
Addressing the crowd via the arena's public address system after the fight, Lytle said being a part of the UFC meant more than anything to him.
"Except for one thing," he said. "That's my family."
In other action on the main card, lightweight Ben Henderson beat Jim Miller by a unanimous decision of the judges — and might have earned some new fans with his enthusiastic displays of emotion both during and after the bout.
"I beat people up," Henderson said. "That's my job. That's what I do."
One of the biggest cheers of the night game when the video board showed UFC fighter Anthony Pettis, a Milwaukee native, sitting ringside.
The crowd also got behind Lytle early, chanting "USA! USA! USA!" Hardy, a native of England, walked out to a throbbing punk-rock song with the chorus, "England belongs to me!"
The bout seemed fairly even through the first two rounds, with both fighters swinging away. Lytle landed a big left-hand punch to Hardy's face just before the end of the second round. Hardy then made his decisive move in the third round.
In another lightweight bout, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone scored a technical knockout of Charles Oliveira. Duane Ludwig beat Amir Sadollah by unanimous decision in the welterweight division to kick off the main card.
Ludwig kicked off the televised portion of the event by landing a series of hard punches to Sadollah's head late in the first round. Sadollah recovered to land a few blows of his own — but not enough to win, as Ludwig was ruled the winner by unanimous decision of the judges.
Cerrone took on Oliveira in the next bout — but it didn't last long, as Cerrone landed a relentless series of kicks, including a knee to the head, then began to swing wildly as Oliveira was on the ground. The referee stopped the fight with 3:01 left in the first round.
The fight was stopped briefly earlier in the first round when Cerrone kicked Oliveira in the groin. Cerrone left the ring wearing a black cowboy hat.
In the second-to-last bout of the night, Henderson dominated much of the first two rounds, only to end up in a leg hold by Miller midway through the second round. Henderson slipped out of it, then landed more blows on Miller, whose head was bleeding heavily by the end of the second round.
Miller took more hits in the third round but held on until the end of the fight, when Henderson was declared the winner.