UFC on FOX 3 fight card: Lavar Johnson vs Pat Barry fight prediction, preview and breakdown

Pat Barry (L) and Lavar Johnson (R) are set to collide in a hard-hitting heavyweight scrap later tonight at UFC on FOX 3 from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by MMAFighting.com's Esther Lin via SBNation.com.

A slugger's special is on tap for the UFC on Fox 3 televised main card later this evening (May 5, 2012) at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. And you have to wonder what the over-under on takedowns would be at the betting window, if such props were offered for the Heavyweight fight between Lavar Johnson and Pat Barry.

There are no accidents in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight matchmaking, and Johnson and Barry represent the exact kind of opponent both need to deliver an exciting fight. Fresh off his impressive Octagon debut with a bone-numbing stoppage of the durable Joey Beltran, Johnson faces veteran Barry, a talented kickboxer with a penchant for memorable finishes, whether it's him doing the finishing or being dusted off in a highlight-reel closing sequence.

Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC on Fox 3 fight between Lavar Johnson vs. Pat Barry:

The Breakdown

Barry's kicks are an outstanding weapon, and he'll feel freer than usual to unleash them because Johnson isn't going to be looking to take him down. Johnson's best offensive weapon is a nasty right uppercut, and he'll have to be sharp, as he looked tired at times in the brief, but overwhelming, beating that was the Joey Beltran fight, despite it only going 4:24.

It may have been a first-time Octagon dump, but if there's a long, drawn-out kickboxing match, Barry's stamina could be an edge.

There's also Barry's wrestling, which has improved somewhat in recent bouts from non-existent to mediocre, and that's enough to keep Johnson at bay in that realm. As Johnson, who is basically a two-handed fighter who rarely kicks, gets into a longer match, it may become rough for him to deal with Barry's spry movement, changing stances and thundering kicks, which are a huge weapon for "HD" to negate the height advantage he always concedes facing fellow heavies.

The Pick

This is a fireworks-ready bout to kick off the main telecast, and Barry's experience will be too much. Johnson is a talented heavyweight, but still very much a work in progress, particularly competing at this level. It's obvious the UFC wants to capitalize on his impressive stoppage of Beltran by giving him a fight to further develop his marketability while keeping him away from a wrestler that would smother and likely beat him.

But, Barry is still an outstanding kickboxer with a lot more tools. Neither guy is ever going to be a heavyweight contender given their wrestling deficiencies, but both are exciting and willing to mix it up -- that's what favors Barry and his deeper tool set, as he punishes Johnson's legs, eventually mixing in sneaky counters and big-time combinations, wearing down Johnson to a second-round knockout.

Barry via knockout

Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC on Fox 3 results of all the "Diaz vs. Miller" action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FUEL TV "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the FOX broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 4 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Sunday morning.

See you later!

Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or jasonprobst@gmail.com.

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