UFC 89 Live Blog – Hardy vs Gono
This is Dan Hardy’s big break – 26 years of age, 26 fights under his belt, and making his UFC debut in the UK less than an hour from his house. It could be perfect, or disastrous.
Gono’s entrance is typically eccentric, with him and his cornermen is matching white catsuits, shades and crazy wigs. When he and two partners busts out synchronised dance moves, the crowd instantly warm to him, and although it takes him four times as long to get into the Octagon and get ready, no one minds.
Dan’s factfile graphics describe him as ‘quick’ – someone has obviously done their homework! He enters to a ‘England belongs to me’, a rousing punk rock tune that has his fans in high spirits.
Gono has cut four pounds to Dan’s fifteen, and looks way smaller for it. Dan stalks him early but Gono seems to be trying to figure out his timing. The first round is Dan’s but not too much actually happens.
Second round sees Hardy landing more, but having to dealing with flying kicks, jumping punches and spinning attacks. Still, his accuracy has earned him the round, and I’d peg him clearly ahead into the third.
Hardy eats a lot of left hooks in the third and is left woozy from an illegal knee at the four-minute mark. He gutted out the rest of the fight though, only taking a brief rest before carrying on.
Big Dan literally throws a mid-air Gono to the mat as the final bell goes, and Dan picks up a dramatic but well-earned split decision victory.