Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last night (June 26, 2011) lumbered into the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA, with a Frankensteined fight card that was assembled from whatever parts promotion matchmaker Joe Silva could find scattered across his lab.
And despite all the last-minute stitching, UFC on Versus 4: "Kongo vs. Barry" proved, yet again, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
referee Dan Miragliotta Cheick Kongo.
The fibrous Frenchman was two blocks from queer street thanks to a battery of bombs from Pat Barry, who toppled the towering Parisian with punches in bunches. A dazed Kongo bobbed up and down like a bearded buoy lost at sea, prompting UFC color commentator Joe Rogan to prematurely declare "IT'S OVER!"
Right call, wrong fighter.
That's because "HD" charged his wounded foe with reckless abandon, standing flat-footed while looking for the knockout punch. It came, but it was from Kongo, who left Barry in a state of suspended animation after somehow convincing referee Dan Miragliotta to let the fight continue.
It was, without question, one of the craziest finishes in UFC history.
The entertaining ending went a long way in clearing the gray skies that had formed over "Steel City" after it was learned that original headliner, former UFC middleweight number one contender Nate Marquardt, had failed his pre-fight medicals and would be unable to make his welterweight debut opposite Rick Story in the main event.
Fortunately when you travel to the East Coast, the AMA Fight Club is only a phone call away.
Charlie Brenneman was quickly resurrected from the ashes of his canceled fight against the ailing T.J. Grant and inserted into the bout against Story, which was demoted to co-main event status in favor of "Kongo vs. Barry."
"The Spaniard," a former division one wrestler out of Lock Haven University, used his superior mat skills (and a questionable stand-up from the referee) to spoil "The Horror's" coming-out party and put himself on the welterweight map.
Story looked strong on his feet and came close to locking in a couple of submissions, but had no answer for Brenneman's relentless takedowns and needed a third round finish to overcome the hometown hero. It was not to be.
In short, it's been a tough weekend for the Washington native.
Of course one man's "Horror" is another man's "Doomsday," as John Howard suffered his third straight loss in the UFC's crowded 170-pound division after a lackluster three rounds against Matt Brown.
"The Immortal" was far from dazzling, but he was certainly the busier fighter, outworking and out-muscling Dooms -- who didn't seem to be competing with the kind of frenetic pace one would expect from a fighter who was facing a possible pink slip.
Brown, himself mired in a three-fight skid, managed to earn a stay of execution with the much-needed win ... for now.
In the opening fight of the night, former "Ultimate Fighter" Matt Mitrione pushed his record to 5-0 with yet another impressive performance, this time against the up-and-coming Christian Morecraft.
"Meathead" landed early and often, detonating the Team Bombsquad product with a five-fingered grenade in the opening frame. Morecraft survived the early blitzkrieg and escaped the round, but was unable endure another five minutes of punishment and wilted at 4:28 of the second stanza.
Mitrione wins again and proves he's ready for a step up in competition. Kongo? Carwin?
That's a wrap from Pittsburgh, Maniacs. Now it's time to share your thoughts on everything that went down tonight inside the Octagon.
For complete UFC on Versus 4: "Kongo vs. Barry" results and play-by-play coverage of the televised main card click here.