NOTTINGHAMSHIRE'S UFC star Dan Hardy backed up his pre-fight talk with the biggest win of his career on Saturday.
The 27-year-old welterweight fighter won a split decision victory over Boston's Marcus Davis at UFC99 in Cologne, Germany.
Before the fight Hardy had mocked the American for celebrating his Irish heritage so openly, and had ascertained he was quicker and better in every area than the 35-year-old former pro boxer.
In round one Davis managed to take the fight to the ground, but was unable to land any significant punches or pose a real submission threat.
Hardy fought his way back to his feet and landed a solid elbow that hurt Davis before the end of the round.
In the middle stanza Hardy stayed on the outside and used his reach before clinching and dropping Davis with a massive knee.
He followed the American to the canvas and looked to work some ground and pound, but Davis locked on an arm bar and Hardy was forced to defend, and eventually escaped.
The round ended with Davis on top throwing punches.
The final five minutes of the fight saw Davis put Hardy on his back with a left hook, and the Nottingham fighter had to defend a leg lock, but he escaped and got a takedown of his own on Davis.
Possibly the most significant moment of the fight was an elbow from Hardy that opened Davis up. Referee Marc Goddard stopped the action to allow the doctor to examine Davis, and he was cleared to continue, although looked shaky.
Neither fighter could land a telling blow before the end of the fight, and the judges scored it 29-28 twice for Hardy, and 28-29 for Davis.
Hardy's win takes him to 22-6 with one no contest.