UFC Live 4 on Versus went through some changes pretty late in the game. Up until a month ago the card was UFC: Marquardt vs. Johnson. Then Anthony Johnson got injured and it became UFC: Marquardt vs. Story. Then less than a day and a half before the event Nate Marquardt was yanked by the PSAC (We supposedly find out Marquardt’s heinous medical transgression tomorrow) and it became UFC: Kongo vs. Barry.
No big deal. Four of 7 undercard fights were stoppages (Three KOs) and only Joe Stevenson really disappointed anyone (himself and his family) when he lost a unanimous decision. Joe Lauzon turned in an epic ass-kicking of Curt Warburton (gif’d here).
Other than that, the biggest disappointment came in the Fight of the Night. Nick Lentz and Charles Oliveira were in the middle of a great fight when Oliveira caught Lentz with an illegal knee that was completely missed by referee Chip Snider. Lentz was finished soon after, but the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission was saying cageside that they would be reviewing the fight. It should become a no contest. Oliveira was apologetic in the post fight interview and most of the boos stopped.
As for the Pennsylvania referees… They were awful. Chip Snider and Mark Matheny both made names for themselves last night. Snider for missing the blatant (though probably unintentional) knee to the head of Nick Lentz. Matheny for his ultra-quick stand-ups when fighters were working for position and submissions. Both guys talked incessantly throughout the fight telling the fighters to keep working and threatening them to do something. Hopefully, the PSAC has their shit together and gets some real referees by the time the UFC comes through town again.
When the main card rolled around we got to see Matt Mitrione toy with Christian Morecraft before his walk-off KO in the second round. Related postfight highlights were Stephan Bonnar suggesting that Matt Mitrione was ready for a Top-5 heavyweight after beating the crap out of Christian Morecraft after comparing their fight to Ali-Frazier. Pump your breaks sir.
Matt Brown saved his job with a decision victory over John Howard. Howard came out like a bat out of Hell, yet still pretty clearly lost the first round. Brown stayed composed and grinded out an entertaining win.
In the co-main event Charlie Brenneman stole Rick Story’s cookie by outwrestling him for most of the fight. It was one of the most fun wrestling matches I’ve ever seen in an MMA fight. It should be a testament to both guys that they kept working and there was no lay and pray during their 15-minutes on Versus. The fight lacked the memorability of any fight with a knockout, but it shows you that wrestlers can be kind of exciting when they’re wrestling.
Of course, the main event featured Cheick Kongo’s incredible comeback KO of Pat Barry. (And the Octagon girl freakout!)
What did this fight tell us about either Barry or Kongo? Not much. They’re both dangerous strikers who are stuck in the middle of the heavyweight division. It looked like Kongo was out twice before he finally got up and caught Barry behind the ear.
Kongo is now undefeated in his last three fights (tap due to strikes, draw due to having a point taken for cheating and this KO) so it’s probably time to put him against one of the top-tier guys again so he can get destroyed. It’s really too bad that Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar are both on the shelf. You know, Roy Nelson might be a fun weigh-in picture.
[gif via IronForgesIron]