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MILWAUKEE, WI, August 14 – For over 12 years, veteran welterweight Chris Lytle thrilled fans with his unforgettable performances. In the final fight of his mixed martial arts career Sunday night at Bradley Center, he left another lasting impression, submitting Dan Hardy in the third round of another war that left no question that the man known as “Lights Out” will never be forgotten.
“I love being a fighter and I love it more than anything in my life except my family,” said the 36-year old, a married father of four. “It’s time to devote more time to them, and it pains me to do it, but it’s the right decision.” See Lytle post-fight interview * See Hardy post-fight interview
Entering the Octagon for the final time, Lytle had a smile on from ear to ear, and the fans greeted him with the ovation he deserved for his years as one of the sport’s truest battlers. But just to make sure Hardy wasn’t going to get sentimental on him, he cracked him with an overhand right to start the bout, and a couple of hard body shots followed. It was clear that Lytle was putting everything into each shot in order to finish the bout, but Hardy took every punch well as he looked to counter. Two minutes in though, Hardy began to lead more, which Lytle had no problem with as he came firing back. The remainder of the round saw each fighter take turns teeing off, but by the time the bell sounded, it appeared that Lytle had the edge.
Lytle jarred Hardy with his first combination of the second round, and then mixed things up with a kick and some more hard shots to the body. Hardy came back with his own thunder moments later, staggering Lytle with a right hand. After a brief clinch, Lytle’s head was clear and he went back to the body, but an accidental poke in the eye brought a brief halt to the action. When the fight resumed, Lytle went on the attack, but Hardy rocked him again before the bout briefly strayed to the mat. More exchanges ensued, and when the two went toe-to-toe at close range, it was Lytle taking advantage. But when Hardy had a little space to operate, he got more than his share of licks in, and there was no dip in the action at all, making the rounds fly by for those viewing them. A 1-2 at the bell brought a smile and a clap of hands from the man throwing it – Lytle – and you could tell that he was enjoying the last mile of his career.
Neother fighter had lost any pop on their punches 10 minutes into the bout, and defense had become only a second option for both. But where Lytle was catching Hardy repeatedly was when the Nottingham native stepped straight back, and as the final frame progressed, he was even more accurate with such shots. With 1:15 left, Hardy glanced at the clock and picked up his work rate, landing some solid shots before shooting in for a takedown. That was a mistake, as Lytle showed off his underrated ground game one more time, sinking in a guillotine choke that forced Hardy to tap out at the 4:16 mark.
Now it’s on to the next chapter of his life.
With the win, Lytle ends his career with a 41-18-4 record. Hardy, who has now lost four in a row, falls to 23-10 with 1 NC.