WOW! What a weekend it turned out to be.
I think everybody knew going in that UFC on Versus 4 was going to be an interesting, if not exciting card full of fun, meaningful fights. As the Roundtable Preview went online Friday afternoon, little did we know just how interesting this weekend would end up being.
*NOTE* I will not be going into the Nate Marquardt story in this review. I will be continuously updating the original story HERE.
As of now, everyone is already aware of the shocking turn of events that transpired Saturday afternoon, seemingly as the fighters were lining up for the Weigh-Ins. Nate Marquardt was out, Charlie Brenneman was in.
It was a “Cinderella/Rocky” story for the Pennsylvania native, as his week was a proverbial roller-coaster ride. His original opponent, T.J. Grant, had to pull out their preliminary bout due to an illness on Tuesday. The UFC was still willing to pay Brenneman his fight purse, as long as he stuck around to due the media rounds, was able to make weight as scheduled, and be a willing alternate for any of the other three Welterweight bouts on the card (just in case something, ANYTHING, were to happen to another fighter). He did all that was asked of him, and was rewarded with a last minute, Co-Main Event slot against Rick Story.
What’s even more amazing is that “The Spaniard” out-worked, out-wrestled, and out-right beat Story 29-28 (across the board). In what turned out to be an excellent grappling chess match, Brenneman made a name for himself on a National stage, and is now going to be looking at a more prominent list of opponents in his near future. With the spotlight on, we will all now see just how far Charlie Brenneman can go. Congratulations and Good Luck!
Heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry assumed the Main Event spot after Saturday’s reshuffling, and did not disappoint. In one of the most dramatic finishes in UFC history, Kongo survived a rabid fury of strikes from Barry, and KO’d the kickboxing champion with one punch. Twice, it seemed, Barry had, or was on the verge of, finishing the Frenchman in the first round. Referee Dan Miragliotta, to his credit, did not step in and stop the fight when everybody thought or expected it to be. While the big win reminds everyone of how dangerous Kongo can be, it still doesn’t put him in the hunt for a title shot. Even with the loss, Barry status shouldn’t be hurt too much. He looked good, but simply got caught by a Hail Mary. Here’s to hoping that “Hype or Die” will rebound and not get lost in the Heavyweight shuffle.
In what was expected to be a “Loser Leaves Town” match, Matt Brown got back into the win column against John Howard. Both men were coming in on losing streaks, and, if it weren’t for the fact that both are usually involved in exciting fights, may have been cut before this last chance. I like Howard, but the Lightweight division is so stacked right now. Maybe a “relocation” to the Strikeforce roster is in his immediate future.
And then there is “Meathead”! Matt Mitrione looked very good in his KO victory over Christian Morecraft. After surviving the first round without his mouthpiece, Morecraft appeared outclassed by Mitrione in the second. With about 30 seconds left, the former NFL and Ultimate Fighter veteran finished his opponent with an impressive combination.
During the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Mitrione revealed the secret to his fluid striking: the man “Pisses Excellence”. I kid you not, that is his claim. Somebody get a T-Shirt printed, STAT!
Who knows what is next for “Meathead”. He is now 5-0, all with the UFC. A step up in competition should be in order, and I think a fight with “Big Country” Roy Nelson would be EXCELLENT! Make it happen, Joe Silva!
All-in-all, it was a great night of fights. The bonuses were awarded to Cheick Kongo (Knock-Out of the Night), Joe Lauzon (Submission of the Night), and Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira (Fight of the Night).
How did this week’s Roundtable do?
*NOTE* The Marquardt/Story predictions were thrown out.
Stephen Schlegel 3-0
Brian Willy 2-1
Joshua Heizer 1-2
Frank Kline 2-1
Greg Mitchell 3-0
Chris Bragg 2-1
It looks like a Tie this week between Stephen and Greg. BUT WAIT! Stephen correctly predicted the exact outcomes of 2/3 fights, so he will get the nod this week. Congratulations, Stephen. On this odd week, you are proven to be the King of the Roundtable.
Also, be sure you catch The Ultimate Fight Show this (and every) Saturday at Noon ET, as Larry Cassano and I will further break down this card, give you the latest update on the Nate Marquardt situation, preview UFC 132 and the HUGE Heavyweight Title Unification Showdown between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye, and take your calls about whatever is on your mind. You can also follow the show on Twitter (@TheUltFightShow) and LIKE us on Facebook.
Have a great week!