Every Wednesday, The MMA Corner’s Duncan Price will bring a view of the MMA world from across the pond in England, covering well-known British fighters within the UFC and Strikeforce, and also looking at significant events put on by British promotions within the borders of the United Kingdom.

Hardy Defeated In Tough Battle

Unfortunately, the fourth time wasn’t the charm on Sunday night, as Dan Hardy lost an all-out war against Chris Lytle at UFC Live 5.

Both men looked like they were happy to trade punches in what essentially turned out to be a hard-fought boxing contest. A late attempt by Hardy to score points with a takedown ultimately led to his downfall, as the experienced Lytle locked in a fight-ending guillotine choke with just under a minute left to go in the third.

Members of the media and fans alike expected Hardy to be cut following the latest in a run of four consecutive defeats, but the Brit has received a stay of execution from UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta who took to Twitter to say:

“Will not cut @danhardymma. I like guys that WAR!!!”

Dan Hardy responded in an interview with MMAjunkie.com by saying:

“It’s a nice vote of confidence from the big boss. Obviously, a lot of people are three losses and out. I’m obviously four down now, and I appreciate he’s going to give me another opportunity. I love the UFC and the fans and just being a part of the organization and being amongst great fighters.”

“I think if they are going to give me one more fight, then I really need to take some time and come back re-invented, if you like. … There are a lot of things I can do. But right now, I need space from competing, and I need space in the gym getting beaten up by much better guys in every area. I’ll either improve or find another way. If I’ve got one more fight, then I’ll take one more fight. But maybe it won’t be for a little while.”

Although Hardy was certainly pleased that he still has a job within the organisation, he did note that he would appreciate some time away from the Octagon in order to hone his skills and come back a more skillful and well-rounded mixed martial artist.

“When I got into this sport, my intention was just to do what I could do and get as far as I could. I’m proud to say I fought for the belt. It may have been a little early in my career to have done it, but it was an opportunity I took, and I gave it everything I’ve got. But after that, I don’t know. I just felt a little bit of a distance from myself and the sport for various reasons.”

“I think I had the quickest rise and the quickest fall the UFC’s ever seen – four fights up, four fights down. But there were improvements to make. I know that. I just don’t think between fights I’ve really had the time to invest in working on those particular things. I know I’ve got it in me to learn them.”

Hardy recently began training with notable UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson in Las Vegas and acknowledged that even though he felt he had improved, it didn’t necessarily materialise in the bout.

“I had a great training camp, but what you do in the gym and what goes on in your head are two completely different things.”

“I only had four weeks out in Vegas with Roy, and I made a lot of progress in that time – not that I proved it in the fight. But I feel like I did make a lot of progress. I feel like that’s a good place for me to be and to continue to work on my game. That will be something I continue to do. Plus, I have a lot of good friends there now, and they need my help training for their fights, so I’ll still be there for them.”

The mood of “The Outlaw” was one of reflection and he ended the interview with an honest admission:

“I think my head’s elsewhere to be honest. I’m going to step back a little bit and take some time – just enjoy being in the gym for a little while and see where the future takes me. … I’ll see where my life takes me after a couple of days off.”

“I think I just need to really dedicate the time to it and either come back in a blaze of glory and make a run for the belt or do something else. I’m not sure yet.”

The UFC’s move to retain Hardy’s services would appear to be a shrewd one. Normally with a guy who has lost four straight fights, the fans will lose interest and they are then cut from the roster. However, in the case of Hardy, in the UK at least, the fans are still excited to see him fight.

Hardy should stick to competing here in the England, at least for his next few bouts. That way he can build up his confidence, improve his skills and remain a valued commodity for the UFC.

Watson Out, Wallhead In For BAMMA 7 Main Event

It was confirmed on Thursday that a back injury has forced BAMMA middleweight champion Tom “Kong” Watson to pull out of his planned BAMMA 7 title fight with Frank Trigg.

Jim Wallhead (r) (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

Former Bellator welterweight tournament participant Jim Wallhead has agreed to replace Watson and will now face Trigg in a non-title bout. BAMMA 7 will take place Sept. 10 at The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

Wallhead, a training partner of Paul Daley and Dan Hardy, possessed an impressive eight-fight win streak prior to his recent loss to Rick Hawn at Bellator 35. Wallhead went undefeated for three years prior to that defeat and holds victories over the likes of Che Mills and Ryan Thomas.

He had this to say to BAMMA.com:

“I’m really grateful BAMMA have given me this chance to fight on such a big card against a high level athlete like Frank Trigg. It’s a test that I’m looking forward to but I hope he doesn’t think I’m just a late replacement who is there for a quick payday, I’m there to get back to where I belong, at the top, above people like him.”

Tom Watson, who hopes to be fully recovered and back in action by December for BAMMA 8, asked BAMMA executives to issue the following statement regarding his withdrawal.

“It is with massive regret that I have to postpone my fight with Frank Trigg. As you may or may not know, I recently suffered a back injury. Unfortunately, after several sessions with multiple doctors, I have been informed that I will not be cleared to fight. Two different doctors have said that they cannot clear me to fight in September, meaning that not only would I fail my medical, but also that BAMMA would be putting my health at risk, something they are not willing to do.”

“Respectfully, BAMMA has decided to move my title fight, as fighter safety is of paramount importance to the BAMMA organization. I am hoping to be fully recovered and cleared to fight in time for BAMMA 8 in December.”

Although most people would agree that the loss of Watson will be a blow to this event, Wallhead is a credible replacement and I think the fans will get behind him on the night.

BAMMA 7 Updates & Additions

In better news for Britain’s leading MMA promotion, several fights have now been added to the card for BAMMA 7, including a bout that features former UFC competitor Andre Winner.

Andre Winner (BAMMA)

The TUF 9 finalist will look to snap a three-fight losing streak when he takes on fellow Brit Jason Ball.  The fight comes following a recent defeat for Winner at UFC 132 against dangerous striker Anthony Njokuani.

In a statement issued via BAMMA.com, Winner stated:

“I’m really happy to be coming home and fighting for the very best in Europe. I look forward to putting on a good show for the fans.”

With these recent additions the full card now looks like this:

  • Frank Trigg vs. Jim Wallhead
  • Che Mills vs. Joey Villasenor
  • Jack Marshman vs. Carl Noon – for vacant British middleweight title
  • Rob Sinclair vs. Leonardo Santos
  • Efrain Escudero vs. Tim Radcliffe
  • Matt Ewin vs. Valentino Petrescu
  • Jason Ball vs. Andre Winner
  • Pindi Madahar vs. Danny Compton
  • Eugene Fadiora vs. Robert Devanne
  • Tim Newman vs. Shan Omer
  • Dale Hardiman vs. Scott Jansen
  • Lee Taylor vs. Tom Breese
  • Richard Walker vs. Shah Hussein
  • Fraser Opie vs. Robert Krecick

These new match-ups really round the event out nicely and it will be good to see some up-and-coming British talent in action.

Top Photo: Dan Hardy (l) battles Chris Lytle at UFC Live 5 (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

This piece was authored by Duncan Price. Follow him on Twitter, @DuncMMA