UFC fan favorite heavyweight Pat Barry found himself in a very familiar situation last night (January 20, 2012) in the first round of his UFC on FX main card opening bout against the very large and imposing Christian Morecraft.
"HD" was on his back with his opponent in full mount and looking to finish the fight via submission.
UFC fans have come to expect a quick finish in this situation for the former kickboxer, but not this time. Not only did Barry reverse his perilous situation, but he put his opponents lights out with a ferocious left hook followed by some ground and pound.
So what changed for Barry? And what's next for both men?
Morecraft threatened early by catching a patented Pat Barry leg kick and putting the Deathclutch fighter on his back within the first 30 seconds. Perhaps being too hasty, the 6'6 fighter attempted to lock in a rear naked choke despite not having both hooks in. He did, however, pass to mount, although this hurt his angle for actually finishing the choke.
Barry remained calm and surprisingly turtled and escaped out the backdoor when Morecraft couldn't get his hooks in which drew some big cheers for the pro-Barry fans in attendance.
Morecraft wisely didn't stand and trade for long, again closing the distance and securing a takedown along the fence. He again passed to mount, briefly threatening with an arm triangle but instead opting for an armbar when Barry again started to give up his back. Morecraft couldn't straighten the arm out enough which gave Barry just enough time to alter the angle and again twist free of danger.
When they reset to standing again, it was obvious just how much better Barry was than Morecraft in the stand-up. After a brief feeling-out process, Barry slipped a big left hook and then blasted Morecraft in the face with a short left hook of his own which sent the behemoth tumbling to the canvas. "HD" pounced with three big strikes on the ground and he put Morecraft's lights out.
All that was left to do was a big post fight celebration which included the first UFC "plank."
For Christian Morecraft, he did everything correct but win. He had Pat Barry right where he wanted him twice in full mount, but he got sloppy with his submission attempts instead of being patient and allowed "HD" to get out of his clutches. He then made an even worse mistake by getting frustrated and choosing to exchange with a vastly superior striker. He would have been better off attempting takedowns until he was too exhausted to move.
It's likely he'll be cut as he now has a 1-3 record in the UFC, but if he somehow remains employed, potential opponents include Rob Broughton, Ednaldo Oliveira or perhaps he could welcome Oli Thompson to the UFC heavyweight division.
For Pat Barry, hopefully this victory doesn't go to his head. Yes, he showed improvement, but he still has a long way to go before he's well-rounded and hopefully he continues to put time in. He got out of some precarious situations which is great, but he needs to stop putting himself in those precarious situations in the first place. His striking is still some of the best in the division, however, and it was nice to see him pick up a big knockout victory. As long as he keeps putting in the time with Rodrigo Comprido, things can only improve.
Potential opponents for Barry include the upcoming winner between Brendan Schaub and Ben Rothwell, the Stipe Miocic vs. Philip De Fries winner or perhaps he could welcome former Strikeforce standout Shane Del Rosario to the UFC.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did you give up on Barry once he was taken down early in the fight? What do you think of the "new and improved 'HD?'"