In what will likely become one of the most classic fights in UFC history, Cheick Kongo avoided being knocked out twice by Pat Barry only to moments later knock Barry out cold in the first round of action at UFC on Versus 4 on Sunday night in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Barry dropped Kongo after an initial feeling out period by the two fighters that featured a bevy of leg kicks. Barry ducked under Kongo's lengthy jabs to land a massive overhand that seemed to have finished the fight. Referee Dan Miragliotta wasn't satisfied, however, as Kongo attempted to take down Barry in defense. Once Kongo seperated, Barry blasted him again, causing Kongo to fall backwards to the canvas. Kongo survived, regained his feet, and Barry backed him to the fence once again. As Barry moved in to attack, Kongo unleashed a right hand, right uppercut combination that leveled the former K-1 kickboxer. The fight was stopped at the 2:39 mark of the first round.
Both Kongo and Barry entered tonight's contest as middle-of-the-road heavyweights looking to gain some ground in the UFC's shallow heavyweight division. Kongo had once been considered an upper echelon fighter, vying for a shot at the title at UFC 99 against rising prospect Cain Velasquez. Unfortunately, he has never been able to defeat any of the fighters in that upper tier, losing to Velasquez along with Frank Mir.
Barry had not squared off against the caliber of opponents that Kongo had been facing until tonight. His toughest test leading up to this bout was against Mirko 'CroCop' Filipovic, but he came up short as he was submitted in the third round after breaking both his hand and foot in the previous rounds. Barry entered the contest with a 6-2 record, defeating Joey Beltran in his last bout at UFC Fight for the Troops 2.