The UFC rolled into Pittsburgh and it was another night of UFC action and another tremendous card. The talk of the MMA world focused on Nate Marquardt being released on the eve of the event, but thanks to the fighters laying it on the line, the talk after the event is how jaw-dropping the action inside the cage turned out to be.
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Cheick Kongo: In what looked more like a scene from a Rocky movie than a UFC fight, Cheick Kongo was drilled, dropped and moments away from being stopped in the first round against Pat Barry. Barry had hurt Kongo with a series of shots, twice and looked like he was about to get his hand raised when he rushed in and took a shot to the neck that stunned him, then a wobbly Kongo hit him on the button with an uppercut that knocked Barry unconscious. It was one of those moments rare in sports where people were left momentarily at a loss for words before finding the proverbial “WOW!” This is a cruel sport that can turn on a dime, and Pat Barry was crushed after literally snagging defeat from the jaws of victory.
Charlie Brenneman: Oh what an opportunistic turn this was for “The Spaniard.” Charlie, a Pittsburgh native saw his shot of being on the card dashed earlier in the week when his opponent, TJ Grant was forced off the card with illness. However, when Nate Marquardt was forced off the card and fired do to failed medicals; Charlie got the call up to the co main event and a date with Rick Story who has been on fire of late. Brenneman made the most of the call up, defeating Rick Story 29-28 across the board on the scorecards and moves to 14-2 overall. The win over Story is big, as Story was on a six fight UFC winning streak and had just beaten Thiago Alves three weeks prior. Charlie definitely made the most of his opportunities this weekend.
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Joe Lauzon: Joe continues to look unbelievable, this time cruising past Curt Warburton via a first round submission. Joe took little time to floor Curt with a nice combination and then followed him to the mat where he tied him up with a nasty looking kimura, forcing the tap at 1:58 of the first round, and pocketing a nice 50,000.00 dollar Submission of the Night bonus. For Lauzon, it’s another step towards climbing a ladder at 155, and he’s won five consecutive post- fight “awards” and 7 in his 10 fights in the UFC. When Lauzon fights you know something awesome is going to happen.
Matt Mitrione: The man they call “Meathead” continues to remain undefeated, this time, knocking Christian Morecraft out in the second round of their fight. Matt Mitrione showed a nice straight left hand and hurt Morecraft with it on more than one occasion. Also on display were outstanding kicks from Mitrione and an ability to take a punch and just brush it off. Matt is now 5 and 0 inside the Octagon and would likely expect a step up in his next fight. He will need to improve his head movement and all around defense if he expects to make noise at Heavyweight.
Matt Brown: Matt needed a win in order to stave off the unemployment line. After losing three consecutive fights and getting an uncharacteristic reprieve from Dana White and company, Matt knew this is where the rubber met the road, and a loss here would send him packing. On the other side of the cage was John Howard, who is a vicious striker and was favored to win the fight. Matt Brown came out and got the better of the standup and despite this fight never really delivering on the promise it contained, it was a solid unanimous decision victory for Brown, solidifying his job for now, and putting Howard looking square down the barrel of a possible release. It’s extraordinarily rare to lose three fights and stay in the UFC. That’s the position Howard finds himself in.
Joe Stevenson: Joe’s UFC career was on the line Sunday night, but you wouldn’t know if you saw him fight. He lost a unanimous decision to Javier Vazquez in Pittsburgh and likely will be fighting in Bellator or MFC sometime this fall. Fighters lose, and I’m not busting Joe’s chops for that. However, in the third round, he had an exhausted Vazquez in front of him, his career hanging in the balance and he did little more than dance and show off decent footwork for five minutes in the third frame. He didn’t punch, kick, knee, fight and claw like a man who loved being in the UFC. He bounced up and down, threw an occasional shot and saw his UFC flame flicker and go out. He couldn’t even fake it after the fight by raising both hands trying to sell a victory, instead he raised only one. There’s something to be said about that.
Christian Morecraft: Morecraft promised “Pain” in prefight hype but the only thing painful about Morecraft’s performance, was watching it. Matt Mitrione doesn’t move his head at all. He doesn’t sidestep punches or duck them; he just eats them to dish them out. Morecraft was unable to capitalize on that and looked very lackluster before being put away in the second frame. Morecraft is now 1-2 inside the Octagon and we’ll likely see him get one more chance to impress before being released. My crystal ball says he won’t and will be cut after his next fight.
Daniel Roberts: It was yet another unfortunate outing for the man they call “Ninja.” Daniel Roberts looked good coming out of the gates, but gassed in a big way in the later rounds and was picked apart unmercifully by Rich Attonito in his debut at 170 pounds. It’s the second straight loss for Roberts and in this fight, he looked pretty bad. He came out strong, but couldn’t get much going, was hurt by Attonito standing and then seemingly out of gas, he struggled to stay on his feet throughout the third round and ate solid shots with little in return. It was in no way a performance that would endear him to Dana White, and he could be in trouble in the UFC after this performance.
Nate Marquardt: Nate hasn’t come out and said yet what he failed to do that cost him not being cleared by the Medical Board, but whatever it was, it can’t be good. Dana White has said he is “Disgusted” by Nate and despite being a second chance guy, he “Doubts Nate will ever fight in the UFC again.” I don’t know what it is, but I do know that he made a mistake, and he right or wrong put a show in jeopardy 24 hours before it went live. What also causes me to bust out the low five here is that Nate is not commenting on the situation, instead wishing to wait until Tuesday to do so. Well, I obviously can’t pass judgment on the entire situation until it is revealed, but I can say it has been handled poorly by everyone, Nate Marquardt specifically.
Chip Snider: Oh Chip, so much fail in one night. Anytime you’re remembered as a referee after an event it isn’t good. During the Charles Oliveira match, Snider blew the most obvious illegal knee call I’ve ever seen, and it cost Nik Lentz big time. I don’t know if the knee cost him the fight directly, but Lentz should have been allowed to take five minutes to recover from the illegal knee, but instead he was stunned and caught in a fight ending choke. As if that blunder wasn’t enough, in a fight later in the evening, he prodded the fighters to “Come on” and “Let’s go”, despite there being plenty of action. He was so loud and constant during the Tyson Griffin/Manny Gamburyan fight; I had to mute the TV. Thumbs down and a definite LOW FIVE for Snider based on his performance tonight.
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