If you thought Greg Hardy was ready for prime time in the UFC, think again. The disgraced former NFL star, who garnered more attention for his checkered past than his fighting prowess heading into UFC Brooklyn, suffered a near-fatal brain cramp in his debut, kneeing a clearly downed Allen Crowder full-force in a fight that had been, to that point, closer than expected.
It might not have been the most popular choice for co-main event, but the heavyweight tilt between Greg Hardy and Allen Crowder was certainly one of the most talked about fights ahead of Saturday’s UFC Brooklyn. The reality, of course, is that Hardy’s notoriety after a domestic violence case was the reason for it. The UFC, in essence, was cashing in off his checkered past, as there’s no way the 3-0 Hardy had any right being placed in a co-main event for his first UFC fight. Let alone on the inaugural card of the UFC on ESPN era. At least one man could flip the script, however: Allen Crowder.
Crowder, a 9-3 heavyweight heading into UFC Brooklyn, had a simple plan for tackling the former NFL star Hardy: drag him into deep waters. Through three pro fights, Hardy had never left the first round. In fact, none of his fights had gone longer than a minute.
The fight did go past a minute. And no one saw the ending coming.
Hardy went right after Crowder with a jab, but Crowder fired back. Hardy then began teeing off, and Crowder opted to clinch, hanging on and pressing Hardy against the fence. Hardy’s punches had been thunderous, and it was clear too many of those would put anyone to sleep. Crowder kept his distance, and soon, Hardy was further into the round than he ever had been in his pro career. Hardy then launched a weak knee which Crowder caught, dumping the ex-NFL player on his back! Hardy managed to work his way back up to his feet, only to be dragged down again. Crowder then stepped over, into a crucifix; Hardy managed to walk his feet along the fence, spinning around and finally getting to his feet.
Crowder, however, stayed on him. He then pulled guard for a guillotine, but didn’t have it, which allowed Hardy to get on top with just under a minute left in the round. Crowder managed to land an elbow from the bottom, and escape to his feet only to eat a hard right before the end of the round.
Round two saw Crowder throw a left, then look for a takedown opportunity. Hardy then fired off a superman punch. The pace had slowed noticably by the second, and Crowder was able to connect with a right hand. Hardy, however, was connecting more. Crowder then began a little trash talking, and tee’d off on Hardy! He then shot in for a takedown, which Hardy fought off — only to unleash a blatant illegal knee. Crowder wasn’t even close to being a legal opponent, and ref Dan Miragliotta immediately intervened. The shame of it all, the momentum seemed to be shifting, and with Crowder stunned, the fight was over. A braindead move from Greg Hardy, who blew it in his UFC debut, with a very upset crowd voicing their opinion on the finish.
— Mikey Thomas (@MikeyThomasMMA) January 20, 2019
Beyond his iffy personal history, that, frankly, is very much what you get for rushing a fighter like Hardy into a co-main event. And rushing him period.
Allen Crowder def. Greg Hardy by DQ (illegal knee), Round 2, 2:28