The UFC on ESPN era kicked off on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with UFC on ESPN+1.
One of the most discussed fights on the card since it was booked was the co-main event, a heavyweight matchup between former NFL all-pro defensive end Greg Hardy taking on Allen Crowder.
The former Carolina Panther and Dallas Cowboy has a well documented checkered past but has transitioned to the sport of MMA as a way to turn his life, and perhaps the perception of him, around. After an unbeaten and dominant amateur career, Hardy made his pro debut on the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and knocked out fellow former footballer Austen Lane in 57 seconds. Hardy would earn a developmental deal with the UFC and return to DWTNCS with another quick knockout, this time 17 seconds, over Tebaris Gordon. A month later, Hardy made it three straight pro knockouts with a 53 second finish of Rasheem Jones at Extreme Fight Night 252.
— UFC (@ufc) January 20, 2019
Crowder also appeared on the Contender Series — in its inaugural season — picking up a third round TKO victory over Dontale Mayes in August 2017. “Pretty Boy” would make his UFC debut in December 2017 against Justin Willis at UFC 218, losing via first round knockout. It has been over a year since Crowder competed in the Octagon as he looks to come back in a big way.
As expected, the Brooklyn crowd firmly behind Allen Crowder for the co-main event of the evening. Hardy looked for the glove touch but Crowder did not oblige. Hardy lands big shots early and Crowder looks to be in early trouble. They clinch up against the fence and separate as Hardy is now in the longest fight of his professional career. Hardy has slowed down the pace and ferocity a bit. Crowder grabs a single and pushes Hardy across the cage before landing a takedown. Hardy is on his back and Crowder looks to improve his position. Hardy is throwing elbows from his back and tires to get back to his feet. As he stands, Hardy is taken right back down. Side control for Crowder who steps over into a crucifix. Hardy tries to cage walk and gets out of the crucifix and back to his feet. Crowder has a front face lock and locks on a standing guillotine choke. Hardy shakes Crowder off and gets on top. Hardy lands a right hand and Crowder looks to lock in a triangle. Hardy defends it and Crowder stands back up. Hardy lands a right hand as the horn sounds. Hardy isn’t extremely technical, but was able to get out of some compromising positions on the mat.
MyMMANews.com scores the round 10-9 for Crowder
Hardy seeing a second round for the first time in his MMA career. The action has slowed down immensely as they trade punches. Crowder lands a left hand and comes up short with a right. Hardy just misses a massive uppercut after landing a left hand. Right hand lands by Hardy with 90 seconds gone in the round. Crowder is talking smack to Hardy and begins a flurry of punches, much to the delight of the Brooklyn crowd. Crowder goes for a takedown and Hardy reverses. Crowder is on two knees and Hardy lands a vicious illegal knee and the referee immediately stops it. Dan Miragliotta makes it clear that if Crowder can’t continue, Hardy will be disqualified. That is exactly what happened. As Daniel Cormier said, “that was the last thing Greg Hardy needed.” Unbelievable.
— MyBookie Sportsbook (@betmybookie) January 20, 2019