Event: UFC on Versus 4
Date: Sunday, June 26, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET on Versus
Location: Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry
Kid Nate: Pat Barry is tough on his feet, but Cheick Kongo is tough and well rounded. Expect to see a lot of Kongo's wrestling here as he rides Pat to a decision. Kongo by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I was surprised to see Barry as such a big underdog at first, but then I sat down and thought about it. Kongo is more aggressive in the stand-up and has good enough takedowns to beat a guy like Barry. As good of a guy as Pat is, it seems like he is proving out as a C level heavyweight and Kongo is a little bit above that. Cheick Kongo by decision.
Mike Fagan: Kongo's reach is going to cause Barry problems, and if things go haywire there he'll plant Barry on his back. Or knee him in the balls. Either way. Cheick Kongo by decision.
Leland Roling: Barry has never impressed me in the stand-up department despite having a K-1 background and training with one of the best in the sport in Duke Roufus. He's hesitant, doesn't let his kicks go as often as I'd like to see, and fails to mix up his strikes enough to color me impressed by his progression. Kongo's huge frame and lengthy reach will be tough for Barry to get inside against, and I think Barry has all sorts of problems trying to move to a secondary gameplan if his striking fails. Kongo works him over in the clinch and on the feet. Cheick Kongo via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: If this stays standing, it's going to be a relatively easy fight for Pat Barry. I just don't think Kongo will make it a stand up bout as I expect him to keep on trying to take this to the ground, and pound his way to victory. Barry has been working with Brock Lesnar's camp with top wrestlers like Cole Konrad, but will he have improved enough to stop a takedown? Kongo isn't exactly a great wrestler, but he's still leaps and bounds better than what we have seen from Barry. Logical pick would be Kongo via Decision, but I think if Kongo decides to stand, or if Barry is able to stop a takedown or two, he can pull it off. Pat Barry by an upset TKO.
Matt Bishop: On the feet, this is Barry's fight. But if Kongo decides to take it to the mat, as he should, this is his fight all the way. I don't know exactly what Barry can offer off his back and we've seen Kongo completely bust up inexperienced grapplers on the ground. Cheick Kongo by TKO, round 2.
K.J. Gould: I'm going to go out on a limb and say Barry might surprise us. We know about his striking, but getting to train with the wrestlers out of Death Clutch like Cole Konrad and occasionally the coaches that drop in such as Erik Paulson and Comprido is going to be better than any grappler Kongo currently works with at the Wolfslair. Kongo has the experience and size at Heavyweight but I'm picking Barry just to be different. Pat Barry by TKO.
Fraser Coffeen: Kongo will take this to the mat because he can, and because he has a serious advantage there. Once he does, he'll control it, and he'll pound Barry out. This is another one of those fights where I would be happy to be wrong, as I like Barry, but he'll need to display some seriously improved takedown defense and ground work to escape this one. Cheick Kongo via TKO
Dallas Winston: Barry will have the footwork, speed, and agility advantage. "HD" can take a punch, and penetrated the range of a taller kickboxer in Hardonk nicely. However, Kongo's comparable striking and control of distance with his straight right -- combined with his scrappy wrestling and scrambling abilities -- should take him to an entertaining decision. He might even look for takedowns and GnP to force a rear-naked choke. Cheick Kongo by decision.
Rick Story vs. Charlie Brenneman
Kid Nate: Stylistically Brenneman might be more of a headache for Rick Story than Nate Marquardt, but on short notice I think Story will clown him. Story by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Story took the fight against Marquardt on short notice because he wanted the scalp of a big name opponent. Instead, he gets Charlie Brenneman comin in on 24 hours notice. All the credit in the world to Brenneman for taking the fight but Story losing to him would be pretty shocking. Rick Story by Decision.
Mike Fagan: I haven't found out why Nate pulled out, but I have no reason to pick Brenneman on short notice. Rick Story by decision.
Leland Roling: Brennemen will likely try to out wrestle Story and control the fight on the ground. Late notice may hurt his chanves, but he can be stifling. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the chops standing to hurt Story, and Story is a good enough wrestler to stop his takedown attempts. Rick Story via decision.
Anton Tabuena: I woke up and suddenly Nate Marquardt is fired and Brenneman will be stepping in? What is going on here? ...Anyway, I think Brenneman is talented, but taking this on short notice will be tough for him. Rick Story by Decision.
Matt Bishop: I really have to wonder if Brenneman is going to be ready after finding out his fight was canceled and now coming in at the last second. It'll be interesting to see how he responds mentally. Brenneman is a good wrestler, but I don't see him being much of a threat to Story, who has competed against and beaten the better competition. Rick Story by decision.
K.J. Gould: Rick Story should have this no problem. I know Brenneman had been training for a fight as well, but seriously Story is on a roll and I can't see him do nothing else but grind this guy down. Story by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Wow, well, this one sure came out of left field. All respect to Brenneman for taking this on one day's notice, but I wouldn't pick him over Story with a full camp, and I certainly can't do it here. Still, great job for him to take this. Rick Story by decision
Dallas Winston: Having absolutely nothing to lose can be a powerful advantage, especially early, and Brenneman probably matches up with Story better than Marquardt. Story boxes him up though. Rick Story by TKO.
Matt Brown vs. John Howard
Kid Nate: John Howard really ought to be able to win this one. Matt Brown is on a serious losing streak. Expect Howard to drive him right on out of the UFC. Howard by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: John Howard should absolutely win this fight. But there is something nagging at me that Brown is going to pull off two rounds. I can't really explain why, so I'm going to go ahead and accept that this isn't good analysis in any way and instead go with a hollow prediction. Matt Brown by decision.
Mike Fagan: Can we still make jokes about Luke Thomas looking like Matt Brown? I'm not sure. I guess I just did. The emeritus's doppelganger hasn't won in three fights. Howard's on a two fight skid of his own, but the level of competition is a litlte higher. John Howard by decision.
Leland Roling: Howard has good power and a solid Muay Thai base on the feet with enough BJJ know-how to escape dangerous situations on the ground. Matt Brown has lesser skills in both areas than Howard, thus leaning me toward Howard crushing him at some point. John Howard via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: Haven't been impressed with Howard's overall skills, or some of the hype he got after winning his first few UFC bouts. BUT I still think he's better than Matt Brown. John Howard by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Both fighters have their backs against the wall and each needs a win here badly. Howard has some good skills and we've seen them on display. Brown has some talent, but he's known for being tough above all else. I expect Howard to dominate this one. John Howard by decision.
K.J. Gould: I'm not sure on this. Both guys have their good and bad points with Howard being more a striker and Brown being a jack of all trades. Brown's not the sort to wilt easily and is aggressive in his own right but I think Howard edges him. Howard by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Howard has some pretty excellent stand-up skills with his Muay Thai background, and is very dangerous for a guy who lost his last 2. His original fight with Kampmann would have been great. As for Brown, I never really got the hype behind him, either on TUF, or after. He seems like a good, hard working fighter, but doesn't really stand out in any area. I think he says his good byes to the UFC tonight. John Howard via KO
Dallas Winston: The quick conclusion of Howard by TKO makes this fight interesting, because Brown has never lost via strikes. Howard will control momentum and dominate position with his strength. I once prayed Matt Brown would become the American version of Kazushi Sakuraba. The meaning of this is unclear. John Howard by decision.
Matt Mitrione vs. Christian Morecraft
Kid Nate: Look for Matt Mitrione to play some chin music on Morecraft. If Mitrione gasses early without huring Morecraft first he could be in trouble but i don't see it happening. Mitrione by KO.
Brent Brookhouse: I'm still unsure about Mitrione. He hits hard and is strong but he gets a bit sloppy. Christian Morecraft is a pretty talented and tough guy and I don't see this as the gimmie fight that a lot of people are. I'm picking Mitrione but I really think Morecraft has a shot to pull off the win here. Matt Mitrione by decision.
Mike Fagan: Both of these guys are growing on me. More as personalities than fighters, but still. Interested to see what Xtreme Couture does for "Meathead." Matt Mitrione by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Mitrione's kickboxing is coming along nicely along with his footwork. If he can stick to the outside and pepper Morecraft with shots while avoiding the ground, he should cruise to a win. Morecraft will more than likely be a bit more diverse than that however, making this a fairly intriguing prospect bout in the division. When in doubt, I go with Roufusport. Matt Mitrione via TKO.
Anton Tabuena: This fight doesn't interest me at all, and it should be something that the TUF alum takes easily. Matt Mitrione by TKO.
Matt Bishop: Mitrione has made the move to Xtreme Couture for this fight and that should pay off. The UFC seems to like Mitrione and they aren't going to give fighters they like that have potential tough fights at this point in their careers. Morecraft will be a good test, but I'm willing to believe Mitrione hits harder than Stefan Struve. Mitrione continues his interesting progression here. Matt Mitrione by TKO, round 1.
K.J. Gould: Both guys have oddly impressed in their UFC careers so far.I keep expecting Mitrione to get tested but he ends up cruising through his fights. I like that he seems to be training with good people as well. Plus I can't get behind a fighter whose nickname is a WOW reference. Mitrione by TKO
Fraser Coffeen: Sorry Morecraft, but this is intended as a gimme fight for Mitrione, and he'll take it. Mitrione keeps looking better in every fight, and this will be another chance for him to shine. Matt Mitrione via KO
Dallas Winston: Mitrione's athleticism and diverse game should allow him to challenge most heavyweights wherever they are weak. Duke Roufus will draw up a footwork-based strategy and Meathead will spring in and out of range, alternating takedown attempts and his sugary sweet straight-left. Matt Mitrione by TKO.
Preliminary card (Streamed on Facebook):
Rich Attonito vs. Daniel Roberts
Kid Nate: Roberts by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Meh, I just can never care about Rich Attonito fights. It's not that he's awful, it's just that he doesn't stir any interest in me. I figure Daniel Roberts has this so long as he doesn't make a huge mistake. Daniel Roberts by decision.
Mike Fagan: If Ellenberger, Foster, Pierce, and Story are all the same person, then so is Roberts, Howard, and Branch. Ah, the racism, it is thick. Daniel Roberts by decision.
Leland Roling: Tough call, but I like Roberts as Attonito is cutting down in weight for the first time. Roberts catches Attonito in a submission at some point in the scramble. Daniel Roberts via submission.
Anton Tabuena: Seriously? Daniel Roberts by Submission.
Matt Bishop: We'll see if Attonito can get rolling at welterweight, but Roberts should be able to pull it off here. Daniel Roberts by submission, round 3.
K.J. Gould: I'm not sure why Attonito has been brought back. I've nothing against him other than taking up roster space from a more deserving prospect. I think Roberts blows through him. Roberts by Submission.
Fraser Coffeen: Hey did you know Roberts has a 2010 win over Anthony Macias? That has no bearing on my pick, but you can't miss the opportunity to get an Anthony Macias reference in. Attonito comes in off a loss to Dave Branch, but I still think Branch is better than his record shows. The cut could be a factor, but I'll still go with him here. Rich Attonito by decision
Dallas Winston: Both being sound grapplers from top camps, Roberts seems a touch smoother and Attonito a little stronger. There's enough of an x-factor with all of these fighters dropping weight for the first time to make all the difference in the world. ATT's experience in the matter should help, propelling Attonito and his heavier hands to a narrow decision. Rich Attonito by decision.
Manny Gamburyan vs. Tyson Griffin
Kid Nate: I think Manny has the wrestling and raw power to put Griffin on the mat a few times. Manny also has a power advantage standing. Griffin has better striking technique and will be able to scramble back up but aggressiveness wins fights. Gamburyan by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: Tyson Griffin is a guy who never felt "special" but people insisted was, if only he got a chance. He proved out as decent but not great at 155 and now moves to 145 to face decent but not great Manny Gamburyan. I actually like Manny here. He's not a small featherweight and he has the kind of game that I think can neutralize what Griffin tries to do. Manny Gamburyan by decision.
Mike Fagan: My friend hates Tyson Griffin, which is a great reason for me to pick him for the fade. Tyson Griffin by decision.
Leland Roling: Can Griffin resurrect his career at 145 lbs.? Gamburyan isn't an easy task, but I think the added speed will be a godsend for Griffin, who was an otherwise lackluster fighter in the latter part of his 155 lb. career. Tyson Griffin via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Could this card start the changing of the 145 lb. division? I'm not that sure if Griffin and Stevenson are the guys that would run through the division... But I think both guys will win these fights and revive their careers at featherweight. Griffin by Decision.
Matt Bishop: This is going to be a difficult one to call because we have no idea how Griffin is going to look after shedding those extra 10 pounds. We all know Griffin is talented. If he can pull it all together, he could be a factor at featherweight. Tyson Griffin by decision.
K.J. Gould: As far as Griffin seems to be falling he was still a very good Lightweight and should be an outstanding Featherweight. Gamburyan benefited from competing in the WEC Featherweights before the division started fleshing out and I think with UFC experience and skillset, Griffin should wreck Manvil if he's mentally 100% for this fight. I'll assume he is. Griffin by Decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I'm interested to see how Griffin handles the drop down. Overall, I think this division is still developing, so lacks the depth you currently find at Lightweight, which means Griffin could find himself higher up the ranks. Gamburyan is coming in off a long lay off as well, which is never a plus for me. Tyson Griffin by decision
Dallas Winston: Griffin returns to 145, where he was always "that guy" who beat a then-untouchable, pre-corn-rows Urijah Faber. The boat anchor Gamburyan swings could sink Griffin standing, and I'm fascinated to see these two tangle in the clinch. Griffin won't have the same speed advantage he had 155, but that quality will probably carry him through here. Tyson Griffin by decision.
Joe Lauzon vs. Curt Warburton
Kid Nate: Joe Lauzon has an opportunity to add to his HL reel here. Lauzon by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: It's a drag that Lauzon is on the undercard, but his destruction of Curt Warburton here will make the air during the Versus broadcast. Joe Lauzon by TKO, round 1.
Mike Fagan: Warburton hasn't beaten away who wasn't born in Europe. There's probably a reason for that. Joe Lauzon by TKO, round two.
Leland Roling: Warburton just isn't as adept a striker as Lauzon, nor is he as good on the ground as him either. Should be an easy night for Lauzon. Joe Lauzon via submission.
Anton Tabuena: Lauzon should've been on the main card. Joe Lauzon by whatever he wants.
Matt Bishop: Lauzon rolls here. He generally looks dominant against those he should. Joe Lauzon by submission, round 1.
K.J. Gould: Poor Curt. Lauzon by Destruction.
Fraser Coffeen: Lauzon is definitively the better fighter here, and he's not yet at the point in his career where he's losing to guys below him. Joe Lauzon by submission
Dallas Winston: In Pride, Ricco Rodriguez once smothered his opponent into submission from the mount. Ricco is to girth as Lauzon is to ears, and the words "sonar" and "submission" will be cleverly combined to name Lauzon's new signature catch. Joe Lauzon by submission.
Joe Stevenson vs. Javier Vazquez
Kid Nate: Joe Stevenson shouldn't have any trouble here. Stevenson by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I like Stevenson all day here. Javier Vazquez is just plain old and his takedowns aren't going to put Stevenson on his back. This is a fight where Joe actually play his basic boxing game and just use jabs and straights to work his way to the decision win. Joe Stevenson by decision.
Mike Fagan: Should be a good fight, but Vazquez is old and Stevenson is MMA old. Joe Stevenson by decision.
Leland Roling: Very interested to see if Stevenson can deal with Vazquez's grappling chops. While I would definitely give him the edge on the feet, I have a feeling that Vazquez will be much tougher than he believes. With that said however, I'll bank on Stevenson winning over three rounds in his debut at featherweight. Joe Stevenson via decision.
Anton Tabuena: As I said above, I am not sure how far Stevenson and Griffin can get on the featherweight division, but I fully expect them to win both of their fights here. Joe Stevenson by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Great fight. Both of these guys need a win and Stevenson somehow got a stay of execution after losing three straight fights in decisive fashion. The UFC gave him new life by letting him stay in the organization and he's going to repay them by picking up a win here. Joe Stevenson by decision.
K.J. Gould: I like both guys and I've wanted Javi to succeed more than he has because his submission skills are really slick. He's just had problems with wrestling based fighters and I'm not sure if he's ever going to turn the corner on that unless he's been working non-stop to get off his back and get a top position. Stevenson is the sensible pick even if I don't want him to win. Stevenson by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I'm not convinced that this move is going to turn Stevenson's career around, and I think he'll run into troubles in this division just as he did at 155. That said, I think he has enough to get by Vazquez. Joe Stevenson by decision
Dallas Winston: I want to pick Javi by upset even though I like Stevenson. Vazquez has another level of guard play and beats "Daddy" unless Stevenson rolls out a bulletproof strategy to capitalize on his better striking and top game. Joe Stevenson by decision
Edward Faaloloto vs. Michael Johnson
Kid Nate: Johnson by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: Michael Johnson should be too strong and overwhelm Edward Faaloloto early here. Michael Johnson by TKO, round one.
Mike Fagan: I can't imagine why this isn't on the Versus card. Michael Johnson by decision.
Leland Roling: Michael Johnson via decision.
Anton Tabuena: Not impressed with Johnson, but he should win this. Michael Johnson by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Michael Johnson by decision.
K.J. Gould: I think UFC still has hope for Johnson if for nothing else to try and salvage the point in keeping TUF outside of a constant TV prescense. Johnson should have this through favourable fight booking. Johnson by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: Johnson looked decent in round 1 against Brookins, as well as against Nam Phan, while Falo just doesn't have the experience level. My only concern is Johnson fading as the fight progresses. Michael Johnson by TKO
Dallas Winston: Even though he's a 45er, Nam Phan is a gamer. I don't remember anyone discussing that he actually went for a flying triangle against Johnson. How about a Judo Chop on that? Michael Johnson by TKO.
Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira
Kid Nate: Charles Oliveira should be fast enough and aggressive enough to bust Nik Lentz up. Oliveira by TKO.
Brent Brookhouse: People were picking Charles Oliveira to beat Jim Miller and he didn't look unimpressive before getting caught in the very short bout. Now it's popular to pick Nik Lentz to beat him? I don't get it. Oliveira is too aggressive for Lentz's game. Charles Oliveira by TKO, round one.
Mike Fagan: I still believe in you, Charles Oliveira. Charles Oliveira by submission, round two.
Leland Roling: Free Nik Lentz? I'm not so sure. He has the style to neutralize Charles Oliveira in this contest, but it's hard to accept that fact that Lentz will simply stall out Oliveira along the fence to win. Tough call. Nik Lentz via decision.
Anton Tabuena: I wouldn't be surprised to see Lentz to ‘neutralize' Oliveira and win a decision. But I think Oliveira is good enough to avoid that. He's also the much more talented fighter overall. Charles Oliveira by Submission.
Matt Bishop: Nik Lentz fights are so interesting because you know the UFC is just waiting to cut him seconds after he loses. Well, the problem is he keeps winning. Lentz somehow, someway, is going to get it done again here. Nik Lentz by decision.
K.J. Gould: Nik Lentz is going to have the gameplan to stifle Oliveira courtesy of Greg Nelson. It won't be pretty and Lentz will cause a lot more complaints over his grinding style. Lentz by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I still think Oliveira is a prospect to watch, but I also fear he's a bit predictable in his game plan. Lentz is the kind of smart, strategic fighter that will work his way through that and do what he does best - drag this to the end and win. Nik Lentz by decision
Dallas Winston: Let's be honest: we have no idea how good Charles Oliveira really is. We want him to be good, because he's exciting as hell, but it's too hard to win at the elite level on talent alone. He'd have to use his reach, striking and footwork to make up for his lack of size and wrestling, so he either gets a reality check or does something amazing. Nik Lentz by decision
Matt Grice vs. Ricardo Lamas
Kid Nate: Grice by decision.
Brent Brookhouse: I guess I'll pick Matt Grice to just outwork Ricardo Lamas. Matt Grice by decision.
Mike Fagan: Jesus, I didn't realize Matt Grice had been out of the UFC for an entire year. Matt Grice by decision.
Leland Roling: Ricardo Lamas via decision
Anton Tabuena: He has performed better against tougher competition. Lamas by Decision.
Matt Bishop: Matt Grice by decision.
Fraser Coffeen: I'm still basing my Lamas appreciation on his win over Bart 2 years ago. Ricardo Lamas by decision
Dallas Winston: Grice in a grinder. Matt Grice by decision.