Thursday, March 25, 2010
Behind the Record: Chris Lytle
Since 1999, Chris "Lights Out" Lytle has fought for Pancrase, HOOKnSHOOT, Cage Rage, the WEC and his longtime home now with the UFC where he has been fighting for the past 4 years. With a record of 28-17-5, Lytle has never fought for a major title but has held the HOOKnSHOOT and Cage Rage welterweight titles. He is a 4 time Fight of the Night, one time Knock Out of the Night and two time Submission of the Night bonus winner in the UFC.
Chris Lytle trains in Mixed Martial Arts part time along side being a firefighter in Indianapolis. He started training in 1998, only 6 years after the North American inception of the sport and is still competing at the highest level after 11 years. That amount of time in the sport explains a record with 50 pro MMA fights and a 13-1-1 professional boxing record. While his MMA record can appear underwhelming as far as win-loss ratio, of his 17 losses, 15 were by decision and 2 were via cut. In over 50 fights with some of MMA's best, no one has been able to submit or knock out Chris Lytle.
Lytle's early days in Pancrase saw him take some of his first losses to Jason Delucia and Shonie Carter while fighting to a draw with Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa. His UFC debut was a decision loss against Ben Earwood, a little known MMA fighter who hasn't fought since retiring in 2001 but was a top welterweight at the time. Lytle wouldn't return to the UFC for 3 years untilfighting Robbie Lawler to another decision loss. His first UFC win would come 5 months later (submitting Pete Spratt in between) with a submission of Tiki Goshen that started a great 3 year run for the fighter. From 2004 to 2006 Lytle went 8-2, losing by decision to Karo Parisyan and by cut to Joe Riggs while securing wins over the aforementioned Goshen and Spratt along with Ronald Jhun, Pat Healy and Savant Young leading him to fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter titled "The Comeback". Lytle fought his way to the finals taking out Pete Spratt and Din Thomas before losing in the finale by split decision to Matt Serra in a fight that was somewhat of a stalemate, with Serra pushing Lytle against the cage for most of the fight. Serra went on to score the upset of the century when he knocked out Georges St. Pierre while Lytle suffered a loss to Matt Hughes.
Starting with the Matt Serra loss, Lytle has gone 6-5 over the past four years (one fight being in the UFL) and delivered some of the most exciting fights in the division, as his frequent bonuses will attest to. After the unfortunate early ending to his Fight of the Night with Thiago Alves (which months prior was rumored to instead be a move to the WEC to challenge Carlos Condit for the title), Lytle came out against Kyle Bradley and knocked him out in 33 seconds, earning his KO of the Night award. He said at the time he was going to stop worrying about being technical and just come out and fight. This reinvention produced his second Fight of the Night bonus in a slug fest with Kevin Burns, the close win over Paul Taylor (you guessed it, another Fight of the Night), the much hyped battle with Marcus Davis in Dublin, Ireland (which was shockingly a Fight of the Night winner) and his recent rolling knee bar and Submission of the Night win against up and coming Brian Foster. Mixed in the list of wins was one of the bloodiest fights of 2008 where Lytle was out wrestled and cut open by Josh Koschek. Throughout the fight, Lytle never stopped searching for submissions despite the grotesque amount of blood coming from the cuts on his face. This was the only fight in a 7 fight stretch where Lytle did not win a bonus. Going 6-1 for bonuses in his past 7fights, Lytle has netted himself an extra $275,000 over a roughly 2.5 year span.
Unfortunately, Lytle's weakness being wrestling, we're likely to never see him crack the top tier of the UFC's stacked welterweight division. However, one would have to imagine that every up and coming welterweight can't help but take a deep breath before accepting a fight with one of the division toughest competitors and fans everywhere can't help but shift a bit closer to the edge of their seat and lean in towards their tv's when "Lights Out" enters the ring because win or lose, you're guaranteed to see an exciting fight.