After a four-fight losing streak, Dan Hardy had to re-tool his approach to his game.
Two fights later, the welterweight who had been pegged as a one-dimensional striker appears well on his way.
Nottingham's hometown hero used a well-rounded game to defeat Amir Sadollah in the co-feature bout at UFC on Fuel TV 5 on Saturday. With the raucous British crowd behind him, he cruised to a unanimous decision victory. The judges scores were 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.
Hardy was cautious in round one, primarily countering an active Sadollah in a round which stayed in the standup. But he picked up the pace in round two and dominated the round, scoring a pair of takedowns and landing some late ground and pound.
In round three, Hardy again scored a takedown off a double midway through. He controlled the bloodied Sadollah for most of the rest of the fight, then stayed on him right up to the horn after Sadollah managed to get back to his feet late.
In his postfight interview, Hardy said it was important to fight a smart fight.
"Yeah, I fought just start trading punches. I like wars as much as you guys, but I've got to be smart, I've got to be sensitive. I've got to take my shots. It was a good fight, I enjoyed it."