Nate Marquardt who?
Cheick Kongo stole the show on Sunday, crafting an amazing comeback knockout of Pat Barry in the makeshift main event of a UFC Live 4 card scrambled when Marquardt failed to obtain medical clearance to compete a little more than 24 hours ago.
On a show that first seemed doomed when Marquardt was expelled just prior to Saturday's weigh in, Kongo's surprise KO and Charlie Brenneman's improbable win over Rick Story saved the day.
Speaking of doomed, Kongo looked DOA midway through the first round of his heavyweight slugfest with Barry, after Barry dropped him with an overhand right and then rushed in to floor the discombobulated French fighter again with a right hook. Referee Dan Mirgaliotta nearly jumped in to stop the fight, but Kongo regained his feet and then knocked the overzealous Barry cold with a right hook, right uppercut combo.
Kongo's KO was great, but you could argue the totality of Brenneman performance was even better. After accepting a fight with Story one day ago when athletic commission officials refused to clear Marquardt, the Pennsylvania native's wrestling attack proved too much for Story.
Story, who took the fight on less than a month's notice and himself suffered a change of opponent on Saturday, seemed ill-equipped to handle Brenneman's takedowns. The fighter nicknamed "The Spaniard" routinely took Story to the mat and controlled him. The fighters traded submission attempts - with the fight getting stood up in the third round when Story appeared to be working for an arm bar - and Brenneman crafted unanimous 29-28 advantages on the three judges' cards.
In other televised action, Matt Mitrione continued his post-"TUF" roll, knocking out Christian Morecraft with 30 seconds left in the second round. It was Mitrione's fifth consecutive win in the UFC and likely earned him a step up in competition in his next outing.
Matt Brown pulled a minor upset in defeating John Howard in a welterweight bout. Howard, who some expected to have an advantage in the standup, appeared to want to wrestle with Brown. That strategy seemed to cede control to the Ohio native, who notched his own 29-28 total from all three judges.
Complete UFC Live 4 results:
Michael Johnson def. Edward Faaloloto via TKO (punches), 4:42, round 1
Ricardo Lamas def. Matt Grice via TKO (strikes), 4:41, round 1
Charles Oliveira def. Nik Lentz via submission (rear naked choke), 1:48, round 2
Rich Attonito def. Daniel Roberts via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Joe Lauzon def. Curt Warburton via submission (kimura), 1:58, round 1
Javier Vazquez def. Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Tyson Griffin def. Manny Gamburyan via majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-29)
Matt Mitrione def. Christian Morecraft via KO (punches), 4:28, round 2
Matt Brown def. John Howard via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Charlie Brenneman def. Rick Story via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Cheick Kongo def. Pat Barry via KO (punches), 2:39, round 1