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UFC on Versus 6 Preview: Pat Barry vs. Stefan Struve

<em><strong>Photo by <a href="">Combat Lifestyle, Tracy Lee</a></strong></em>
Photo by Combat Lifestyle, Tracy Lee

The lone heavyweight tilt taking place on the UFC on Versus 6 main card on Saturday night will feature former K-1 kickboxer turned MMA fighter Pat Barry (6-3) as he battles behemoth 6'11" Dutch giant Stefan Struve (21-5). The one foot difference in the fighters' heights makes this match-up somewhat reminiscent of the freak show atmosphere of Japan's most popular MMA bouts, but unlike many of those match-ups -- careers are at stake in this bout.

Both Barry and Struve enter the Octagon at the Verizon Center on Saturday coming off losses, and another one may be in the nail in the coffin for their careers in the UFC. Barry's defeat is the more embarrassing of the two as he knocked out Cheick Kongo twice before succumbing to the iron fist of a zombified version of the French Muay Thai specialist. Call it a miracle, call it unbelievable. Whatever the case, Pat Barry let victory slip out of his hands.

Struve had a great chance of stringing together three straight wins and propelling himself into the mix in the UFC's heavyweight division. Unfortunately, Travis Browne hopped up on one leg and unleashed a superman punch that downed the Dutchman at the 4:11 mark of the first round at UFC 130 in May. The loss once again spotlighted Struve's difficulty in mastering the ranged striking game.

Those brief histories suggest that both men have weaknesses that have blatantly obvious solutions and Achilles' heels. Pick your poison, MMA fans. Pat Barry's fight IQ versus Stefan Struve's inability to use his reach to his advantage. Which is it? Which is more likely to rear its ugly head? Who can take advantage of the other man's shortcoming as a fighter?

My answer is Pat Barry. Despite the fact that he didn't do his research in the past, Barry still possesses the stand-up skills to devastate Struve in quick fashion. Heavy hands, proven knockout power, great kicks. I wouldn't go so far as to say Barry's K-1 level striking has made the full transition to the Octagon, but he has undoubtedly brought the knack for landing on the chin with him.

Struve isn't an offensive dynamo on the feet by any stretch of the imagination. He lacks a ranged striking game to batter his opponents, and he has one of the most porous stand-up defenses in the business. Roy Nelson basically ran forward, chucking overhand bombs without any real concern for his own safety, and won in thirty-nine seconds. I see no reason why Pat Barry can't do the same. Unless, of course, he thinks this is a good time to show off his new and improved ground game, in which case I'll remind him that Tim Hague beat him.

Barry comes out firing on all cylinders, finds a way to Struve's chin, and wins this one in a 'Knockout of the Night' performance.


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