The finish to Sunday’s UFC on Versus 4 main event is still playing over in my head, and every time it does, all I can still say is, “wow.”
There have been come from behind, pull it out at the last second victories before, and some of those were knockouts, but with all due respect to Scott Smith, this was the best one ever. Pat Barry had Cheick Kongo seemingly dead to rights, moving around like he was walking on stilts for the first time in his life on the brink of being finished.
And then it happened.
Kongo planted, clipped Barry behind the ear, scrambling the signal a little, and then unloaded with a thunderous uppercut that put Barry out. This wasn’t a “turned the lights off” knockout. This was a “there was a transformer that blew and blacked out the whole city” kind of deal.
I was glad to see Barry up and lucid by the time the official announcement came – and joking about it on the Internet already — because he landed on the canvas with the worst “I’m out” face I’ve seen in some time.
Expect to see this instant classic in the famed “Baba O’Riley” show-opening sequence, and soon.
CHARLIE BRENNEMAN AND HIS FITTING TATTOO
After thinking he wasn’t going to fight all week, Brenneman stepped into a fight with surging welterweight contender Rick Story on 24-hours notice and capitalized on the opportunity. He outworked Story through the opening two rounds and defended well in the final frame to take home a well-earned unanimous decision win.
Brenneman “seized the day” if you will, following the famous urgings of Horace that he has tattooed across his lower back.
This was a tremendous turn of events for the now 14-2 fighter who once won Spike TV’s Pros vs. Joes competition. Brenneman showed just how tightly contested things are in the welterweight division, earning easily the biggest win of his career on Sunday night.
His two previous wins – over Jason High and Amilcar Alves – didn’t make much of an impact, leaving his knockout loss to Johny Hendricks as his signature moment in the Octagon. It’s never good to be most remembered for getting knocked out. That all changes with this win.
While this shouldn’t mean that Brenneman simply trades spots with Story in the rankings, he definitely earns a bump up the ladder and a high-end opponent next time out; Josh Koscheck or Anthony Johnson might fit the bill.
UNHAPPY ENDING FOR STORY
Regardless of the result, Story emerges from this entire situation in even better standing in my books.
First, he takes a tough fight less than a month after beating Thiago Alves, and then he sticks it out through one of the biggest fiascos we’ve seen in some time. Though he was well within his rights to back away and preserve his winning streak, Story stuck to his “I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, any time” mentality and lost a tough scrap on twenty-four hours notice.
Personally, that willingness to take on all comers and do what is needed speaks louder than anything Story could have done in the cage, save for pulling a Cheick Kongo. Yes, it has already become a thing. Feel free to use it.
While the loss will undoubtedly shuffle him back into the pack a little, it shouldn’t halt all the progress he’s made to this point. Just as one win shouldn’t put Brenneman in the top 10 and in line to face the likes of Jon Fitch, Story deserves better than to be pushed back to the preliminary cards against middle of the pack competition.
THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF THE BROWN VS. HOWARD FIGHT WAS THE COMMENTARY
Okay – that’s probably not fair. I actually really enjoyed this scrap, am happy that Matt Brown got a victory and sorry that John Howard fell for a third straight time and is probably looking at a pink slip.
All that being said, what the hell fight was Joe Rogan watching?
I absolutely loved when Rogan starting talking to Brown in the post-fight interview about Howard tiring as he tried for takedowns and hearing Brown respond somewhere along the lines of, “Really? I thought it was because I kept punching him in the face.”
Hey Matt – I thought so too.
Brown got the better of things on the feet in the opening round, and clearly caught Howard a couple different times. That’s when Howard started reaching for takedowns, and it wasn’t because he was dying to get the fight to the ground. Well, he was, but it wasn’t because he loves to play jiu-jitsu.
It was because he was sick of being stuck on the end of Brown’s jab and eating combinations, and Rogan missed it. Throughout the rest of the fight, he was baffled with Howard’s decision to try for takedowns and almost refused to give Brown any credit for the plethora of punches he was landing.
Everyone has a bad game from time-to-time, and this fight was Rogan’s.
Remember when Matt Mitrione was wandering around the Ultimate Fighter house, complaining about headaches, being a generally odd dude and winning a sloppy, sloppy fight over Scott Junk?
Did you ever think that two years later, the former NFL defensive lineman would be 5-0 and gaining steam as an emerging prospect in the UFC?
That’s just what is happening, as Mitrione once again looked impressive on Sunday in putting a beating on Christian Morecraft. While Kongo’s knockout of Barry rightfully earned Knockout of the Night honors, Mitrione’s finish of Morecraft was impressive as well. The unbeaten heavyweight left his opponent cowering on the canvas, covering up when the referee came in to check on him after Mitrione simply walked away.
If it wasn’t clear before, it should be crystal clear now: Mitrione is a talent and he keeps getting better.
He’s got obvious knockout power and a great deal of confidence in both his hands and his chin. He stood in there trading with Morecraft, certain that he was going to give better than he got, and he was right. Mitrione also got up to his feet quickly whenever Morecraft put him on the canvas, a result of working diligently on a ground game that we haven’t really seen as of yet.
Mitrione versus Stefan Struve sounds about right to me moving forward.
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