There will likely be nothing "mixed" in the mixed martial arts (MMA) bout between Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry that is now slated to headline the UFC on Versus 4 event tonight (June 26, 2011) from the CONSOL Energy Arena in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
In a combined 31 professional fights, "Unstoppable" and "HD" share two submission victories, both of which can be credited to Kongo, eight and 10 years ago, respectively. Meanwhile, the pair share 14 (technical knockouts).
That's because these strikers got their starts on the international kickboxing circuit. Kongo reportedly amassed a respectable kickboxing record (21-2) throughout his transition to MMA, while Barry -- a multiple-time K-1 Grand Prix participant -- compiled a very deceiving, albeit impressive, record (19-6-1) of his own.
This match up was likely booked as a crowd-pleasing complement to an originally-scheduled main event between Nate Marquardt and Rick Story that had implications on the welterweight contender picture. Kongo-Barry was never billed as a pivotal divisional match up, because, well, it isn't.
Now that it has been promoted to the new UFC on Versus 4 main event, after Marquardt was suspended by the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission, removed from the card and cut from the promotion, don't expect much to change.
Don't expect to end via tapout, either.
Kongo has the better all-around MMA skills. He's been in the sport for seven years longer than Barry, seemingly improving his wrestling, takedown defense and jiu-jitsu throughout the years. The Parisian has come a long way since being "exposed" in back-to-back fights to Carmelo Marrero and Assuerio Silva about five years ago.
Light years, actually.
Barry, meanwhile, has struggled whenever his fights have hit the mat or required him to do anything other than kick guys really, really hard. He tapped to a horrible-looking Mirko Cro Cop -- another decorated kickboxer -- rear naked choke and was submitted by a guillotine choke from the underwhelming Tim Hague.
For all the drama that has surrounded this event, and sacked the main event, Kongo and Barry have the opportunity to erase all that by going to war tonight in a stand up battle.
That was the plan, anyway, from the get-go. Let's hope they stick to it ... no more surprises, please.