Rundown of post-fight news and notes coming out of UFC on Versus 4…
— 7,792 fans attended the UFC’s first show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for a $562,310 live gate.
—Not surprisingly, Dana White awarded Cheick Kongo with the $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for his incredible comeback KO against Pat Barry in the main event. Joe Lauzon took home submission honors for tapping out Curt Warburton. Despite a controversial ending, Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz picked up $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus checks. Lentz later tweeted that he has to have surgery today, but the bonus check helped take the sting out of it.
— At the start of the post-fight press conference, Dana White declared it was “one of the best cards we’ve ever done.”
“I think this is one of the best cards we’ve ever done. From top to bottom, great fights. It was a great night. The fights were awesome. These guys came in and delivered. I say this all the time: we’re very lucky in the UFC that we’ve got guys like Rick Story, Brenneman, all these guys that step up when bad things happen. These guys step up and put on a show like the show you saw tonight. From the first prelim to the main event, they killed it tonight. It was awesome. … I think this is one of the best cards we’ve ever had.”
The main event was crazy. The other main card fights were decent. But one of the best cards ever? Really? I missed the prelims. Were they really that epic? Or is Dana just being Dana?
— It’s been awhile since Cheick Kongo did anything buzz worthy in the Octagon, but last night he did just that. If you missed Kongo got clobbered with an overhand right early in the fight and Pat Barry went in for the kill. On two separate occasions, it looked like Kongo was done as Barry tried to finish him off, but he managed to stumble back to his feet and draw Barry in before cracking him with a short right hook and a perfectly timed uppercut for one of the craziest come-from-behind KO’s in UFC history (right up there with Scott Smith’s comeback KO against Pete Sell). Kongo credited the stunning victory to his chin.
“I didn’t see anything. I couldn’t imagine what’s going on,” said Kongo. “I just remember saying, ‘Whoa, OK, he dropped me down, so something happened.’ So, I had to come back quickly.
“I can say it was lucky, but I just worked all the defense I could do for this fight. The good thing was I have a good chin,” said Kongo, who has been stopped on strikes only once in his 10-year, 24-bout MMA career.
— As thrilling as the victory was Cheick Kongo (though he didn’t really show it), it was equally as disappointing for Pat Barry. He had Cheick Kongo on the brink of defeat twice in a fight he really needed to win, but ultimately came up short. While you could see the disappointment written all over his face immediately after the fight, he was in fairly good spirits for the post-fight press conference and interviews. Barry told Sherdog that it was the first time he’d been knocked out and it felt weird to lose two minutes of his life. In fact, having no recollection of the knockout, Barry actually thought he had won the fight when he woke up.
“I’ve never been knocked out before, so this is a weird feeling man to lose two minutes of your life. Honestly, when I was laying on my back and (coach) Marty Morgan was standing over me, the first thing that came out of my mouth was, ‘Yo man, I killed him!’ So I thought I had won the fight. I don’t remember nothing. I remember the entire fight up until I got punched.”
Fights have been stopped for less, so it wouldn’t be too outlandish if Barry had complained about Dan Miragliotta not stopping the fight when Barry had him in trouble, but he didn’t. Instead, Barry praised Miragliotta for doing a good job and took the loss on the chin like he took Kongo’s fist.
— To say things didn’t go according to plan this weekend for Rick Story would be an understatement. Story was one of the hottest fighters in the welterweight division, riding a six-fight win streak. He stepped in on short notice only weeks for Anthony Johnson after getting a big win over Thiago Alves at UFC 130. A win last night against Nate Marquardt would have done wonders for his career and likely put him in the welterweight title discussion, but of course that all went down the drain the moment Marquardt failed his medicals and Story was forced to fight a relatively unknown Charlie Brenneman instead. It was a close fight, but Brenneman edged out the decision. Interestingly though, Fightmetric actually scored the fight a draw, giving Story a slightly higher effectiveness score. Still, you didn’t hear any complaints out of Story after the fight. He was the victim of bad luck and bad timing, but he was a class act, telling reporters he needs to train his “heart out” for his next fight, whether it’s on short notice or not.
— It may have been a bad night for Story, but Charlie Brenneman certainly had reason to celebrate. He took seized the unlikely opportunity in what Dana White called a true “Rocky story.”
“It’s the way these guys are,” White said. “I was sitting next to (Pittsburgh Steelers head coach) Mike Tomlin tonight, and one of the things he was saying was that the reason he loves the UFC so much is because we make the fights. The fights always get made.
“You’re pumped to come see a card, the first time ever in Pittsburgh. Bad things happen, but we still put it together. … It’s not just the UFC. It’s these guys stepping up the plate and seizing the opportunities.”
“His fight tonight was a Rocky story,” White said of Brenneman. “He’s in his hometown, and he gets the shot at the guy who’s hot and on his way to a title shot. He comes in and wins it. That’s the thing about this sport. You never know who’s going to win.”
Calling it “Rocky story” might be a little generous, but kudos to Brenneman for stepping up and making the most of it. Not everyone does.
— Matt Brown picked up a much needed win against John Howard last night. Riding a three-fight losing streak, Brown knew his back was against the wall. Brown told reporters that his fear of being a journeyman was all the motivation he needed to pull out of the win.
“At the highest level, guys aren’t in there trying to kill each other,” he said. “Look at GSP, Anderson, Frankie. The highest-level guys, their game plan isn’t to kill, and that was always my game plan. But I want to be at the highest level. I don’t want to be a [expletive] journeyman, and that’s what my record shows right now: journeyman. I’ve got to take those steps to get to the next level.
“I think I’m taking those steps.”
— Matt Mitrione picked up the fifth win of his career to improve his record to 5-0. It was a little sloppy, but Mitrione was satisfied with the victory.
“I thought I was a wee bit sluggish today,” he said after the fight. “I felt like my hands weren’t coming out the way I anticipated them coming out. So, I’ve got quite a bit to work on, (and) quite a bit to develop on. But honestly, I’m happy.”
That’s five wins over lower-level UFC competition. It might be time for him to start fighting the mid-tier heavyweights where we’ll really get to see how much potential he has or doesn’t have.