UFC star posts impressive victory ... then retires

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UFC star posts impressive victory ... then retires

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 15, 2011
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Chris Lytle got the best of Dan Hardy, putting him in a choke hold and forcing him to tap out with the seconds ticking down in the final round of the fight. Then "Lights Out" flipped the off switch on his UFC career. The Indianapolis firefighter announced his retirement immediately after beating Hardy on Sunday night in the main event, adding a show-stopping twist to the UFC's rousing debut in Milwaukee. From now on, Lytle said he'll put his family ahead of the octagon. "I realized I'm not being as good of a father as I should," Lytle said. "They need certain things, and maybe I wasn't giving it to them. I was a little too worried about pride, myself and my glory. It puts it in perspective. They need their dad." The Wisconsin card was made possible when the state government decided last year to formally sanction mixed martial arts events. A fired-up crowd of 6,751 filled most of the lower bowl at the Bradley Center, home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. The upper deck was closed off, with giant video screens showing every punch, kick and submission hold while the arena's sound system pumped out a steady stream of eardrum-shattering anthems. Addressing the crowd via the arena's public address system after the main event, Lytle said being a part of the UFC meant more than anything to him. "Except for one thing," he said. "That's my family." In other action on the main card, lightweight Ben Henderson beat Jim Miller by a unanimous decision of the judges -- and might have earned some new fans with his enthusiastic displays of emotion both during and after the bout. "I beat people up," Henderson said to the crowd. "That's my job. That's what I do." One of the biggest cheers of the night game when the video board showed UFC fighter Anthony Pettis, a Milwaukee native, sitting ringside. The crowd also got behind Lytle early, chanting "USA! USA! USA!" Hardy, a native of England sporting a brash red mohawk, walked out to a throbbing punk-rock song with the chorus, "England belongs to me!" Maybe, but the bout belonged to Lytle. The fight seemed fairly even through the first two rounds, with both fighters swinging away wildly. Lytle landed a big left-hand punch to Hardy's face just before the end of the second round. Hardy then made his decisive move in the third round. Afterward, Lytle said his decision to retire came after a knee injury left him with more time at home. "I had to take a little time off, and I was at home a lot," Lytle said. "Just when I had to get back in the gym and start training, it was difficult. For the first time ever, I didn't want to go to the gym. I wanted to stay home and spend time with my family." Lytle said he will continue to work for the fire department. Hardy said he'd likely take a step back from the sport after his loss, perhaps spending some time working on new techniques. "If they are going to give me one more fight, I really need to take some time and come back reinvented," Hardy said. Hardy also joked that it was a good thing he didn't win the Harley-Davidson motorcycle awarded to Sunday's winner. "I'd have probably wrapped myself around a tree," Hardy said. In another lightweight bout, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone scored a technical knockout of Brazilian Charles Oliveira. Duane Ludwig beat Amir Sadollah by unanimous decision in the welterweight division to kick off the main card. Ludwig kicked off the televised portion of the event by landing a series of hard punches to Sadollah's head late in the first round. Sadollah recovered to land a few blows of his own -- but not enough to win, as Ludwig was ruled the winner by unanimous decision of the judges. Cerrone took on Oliveira in the next bout. But it didn't last long, as Cerrone landed a relentless series of kicks, including a knee to the head, then began to swing wildly as Oliveira was on the ground. The referee stopped the fight at the 3:01 mark in the first round. The fight was stopped briefly earlier in the first round when Cerrone kicked Oliveira in the groin. Cerrone left the ring wearing a black cowboy hat. In the second-to-last bout of the night, Henderson dominated much of the first two rounds, only to end up in a leg hold by Miller midway through the second round. Henderson slipped out of it, then landed more blows on Miller, whose head was bleeding heavily by the end of the second round. Miller took more hits in the third round but held on until the end of the fight, when Henderson was declared the winner.

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics make big plays down the stretch

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics make big plays down the stretch

BOSTON – When the fourth quarter rolled around on Friday night, the Boston Celtics found themselves in a down-to-the-wire fight with the Sacramento Kings. 

It was the kind of game that in the past has brought out the scrappy, get-it-done-somehow brand of basketball that has in many ways come to define the Celtics under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens. 

And it was on full display Friday night as the Celtics made all the big plays at both ends of the floor down the stretch to beat the Sacramento Kings, 97-92. 

After Sacramento cut Boston’s lead to 90-87, Al Horford drained a 3-pointer to make it a two-possession game again. 

Isaiah Thomas came up with a pair of free throws that turned out to be huge, because shortly after he made them the Kings got a 3-pointer from DeMarcus Cousins that made it a 95-92 game.

The Kings had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth when Horford was credited with his sixth block of the game, this time on DeMarcus Cousins.

Horford was immediately fouled and went to the free throw line where he sealed the victory by making a pair.

Those were the kind of plays we saw often last season being made by the Celtics who finished in a tie for the third-best record in the East. 

This year, not so much. 

“For the most part we got what we wanted (in the fourth quarter) and we got the stops we needed even,” Thomas said. 

Which is the kind of game Jae Crowder and the rest of the guys who have been here awhile, have grown accustomed to.

“We got back to being the aggressive team,” Crowder said. “We came out and imposed our will early; that helped. But if the game comes down to what it was tonight, we have to be the team that comes out on top. It was like a playoff game, real physical. We have to grit it out, grind it out.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

So this is what an ultra-aggressive Al Horford looks like? The four-time All-Star had a season-high 26 points which included knocking down four three-pointers to go with eight rebounds and six blocked shots – yes, six blocked shots.

DeMarcus Cousins

While his fiery temper hasn’t died down completely, his incredible offensive skills and brute strength is what folks are talking more about, finally. He led the Kings with a game-high 28 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists, a steal and four blocked shots.  

 

STUDS

Isaiah Thomas

His streak of being Boston’s outright scoring leader ended at 14 games, but he’s more than happy to take a back seat for one night if it means getting a victory. Horford led the charge on Friday night, but Thomas still chipped in with 20 points, seven assists and two steals. 

Matt Barnes

Although he missed eight of his 11 shots from the field, the 36-year-old Barnes was rewarded for his hustle and effort as he finished with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

Jae Crowder

Boston needed tough plays to be made on Friday and Crowder was up the challenge all night. He finished with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Good things happened when he was on the floor, evident by his game-high plus/minus of +15.

 

DUDS

Rudy Gay

He finished with 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting but the Kings needed more from their second-leading scorer who finished almost seven points below his 19.6 points per game average. That stands out on a night when the Kings lost by just five points.