It will go over about as well as a noxious fart in a crowded elevator, but Greg Hardy punched his ticket to a UFC deal on the second season opener of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series.
Opening night of the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series went more or less according to plan. And by that, we mean that the favorites won, and the fighters you expected to be picked up for the UFC were picked up. For the most part. And for better or for worse, in the case of former NFL’er Greg Hardy.
Hardy fought in the third bout of the five fight card, which went down in the Ultimate Fighter gym in Las Vegas. Opposite him was Austen Lane, a fellow ex-NFL player who was 4-0 entering the night, not to mention the four or so amateur fights which all went in his favor. In comparison to Hardy, who was making his pro debut in the fight and who had gone 3-0 as an amateur, Lane was the much more experienced fighter. Yet it mattered not. Connecting with a crushing right hook just under a minute in, Hardy dropped Lane to his knees. While the tough-as-nails Lane would work his way back up, a second hook — this time a left — finished the job. Dana White burst from his seat in celebration, and it was all but a certainty that Hardy, previously charged with domestic violence offenses until the victim refused to testify, would be welcomed into the UFC fold.
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) June 13, 2018
Plenty has been written on the folly of letting a known abuser into the promotion, especially given Hardy would later face drug charges as well, and was essentially blackballed by the NFL. Yet Dana White believes in second chances, and Hardy punched his ticket to just that on Tuesday.
In a bit of a twist, however, it doesn’t sound like Hardy will jump right into the UFC’s heavyweight division. Noting the footballer’s lack of MMA experience, White hinted at a developmental deal of sorts, saying Hardy “needed experience.” No doubt he does. The UFC have dabbled in such deals in the past, and have solid relationships with a number of promotions including Titan FC, LFA, and potentially others. There’s also the possibility of Hardy joining The Ultimate Fighter (which has heavyweights set to feature on season 28), if the show continues.
In other action on the DWTNCS season opener, Alonzo Menifield got his second crack at a UFC contract. And he made the most of it, setting the show record for fastest TKO knockout at eight seconds. Menifield countered a kick off the opening bell by Dashawn Boatright, dropping Boatright and following up with a number of ground strikes. The quick finish was a much better result than his season one fight, which ended via doctor’s stoppage, and saw a UFC contract elude Menifield. This time, there was no denying him a shot in the big show.
Shockingly, despite finishing Sean Lally thanks to a hook kick in the third round, Chris Curtis, training partners with Sam Alvey, was not awarded a contract. Curtis displayed solid boxing skills and got the better of the first two rounds of the scrap against Lally, who proved a game opponent throughout. The exciting finish allowed Curtis to display a flair for theatrics, as he broke out an RKO on Alvey in celebration after the fight. With Hardy getting what appears to be a developmental deal, the opportunity for another contract felt like it was there, but it wasn’t to be.
Check below for full results from the night’s action.
Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series Season 2 Episode 1 Results:
Alonzo Menifield def. Dashawn Boatwright by TKO (punches), Round 1, 0:08
Chris Curtis def. Sean Lally by KO (hook kick and punches), Round 3, 1:37
Greg Hardy def. Austen Lane by KO (punches), ROund 1, 0:57
Montel Jackson def. Rico DiSciullo by TKO (punches), Round 3, 2:15
Kevin Holland def. Will Santiago by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)