Perhaps the UFC should offer more free events, because it sure seems like you get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck. The UFC on Versus 4 sure didn’t have a problem delivering. Crazy knockouts? Check. Dramatic fights? Check. Controversy? Check and Check.
The weekend started with Nate Marquardt mysteriously receiving his walking papers from the UFC. What started as his highly anticipated Welterweight debut turned into his dismissal from the company, and likely any chance at making a real impact in the sport. He apparently failed some pre-fight medical tests, and whatever the result of those exams they appear to have been drastic enough to warrant the severe punishment he has received. Pennsylvania laws are very strict on the release of such information, so only Marquardt will be able to tell us. This came from a Dana White who still has Chael Sonnen on his roster, and we all know what sort of trouble he has been in since nearly making history against Anderson Silva. I couldn’t help but feel completely horrible, as even though I don’t know Nate personally I do feel some connection as I have trained with people he has trained with. He is a Colorado boy, and I love to stand proud next to this type. However, since Zuffa also owns Strikeforce, we won’t see Marquardt in any major promotion any time soon. Zuffa is the parent company of both the UFC and Strikeforce, so Marquardt may be lucky just to stay alive in the sport. We can only hope Marquardt will clear the air, and in time his name. According to information I have received, this will come on Tuesday.
If you don’t think that a losing one half of the main event was enough controversy, then the prelims should have delivered enough for you. Charles Oliveira knows this all too well. His fight with Nik Lentz started out well, and he looked as though he was on the way to a clean victory. However, as both fighters were returning to their feet after a scramble, Oliveira landed an illegal knee square to the face of Lentz, who clearly had a knee on the mat. This blow went unseen to the official, and the fight continued. It clearly affected Lentz, who we unable to put up any solid defense after this shot, and quickly succumbed to a rear naked choke. I can’t really blame Oliveira, as I’m sure he believed Lentz was off his knees, so this is another very unfortunate situation. Oliveira looked to be in control of the fight up until that point, and I’m sure would’ve dominated after. If the official would have stopped the fight as he should’ve, Lentz most likely would’ve recovered and continued. The worst Oliveira would’ve probably suffered is a lost point, however he could lose a victory depending on the result of the review to be completed by the Commission.
After a few exciting finishes, and a couple good fights involving fighters that were fighting for their UFC lives that normally would earn space in an article such as this, it came to the fight that had been affected by the disappearance of Marquardt. Charlie Brenneman was originally slated to fight TJ Grant, however Grant became ill and could not compete. After going a few days while believing he was off the card, suddenly opportunity came knocking when Marquardt was out. Rick Story was a Welterweight on the rise, with an impressive win streak that included the likes of Thiago Alves. However, on only 24 hours notice, Brenneman came in and abused Story for three rounds to pull off what was probably the upset of the night. Normally, this would be enough excitement to finish the night, however the new main event was yet to come.
Cheick Kongo versus Pat Barry became the new main event when Marquardt went down. Usually it’s a big disappointment to lose your main event and have to bump the co-main event up, but this seemed to work to the UFC’s benefit. Kongo started by using his reach well, and the two traded brusing leg kicks. Suddently, Pat Barry finally closed the distance and rocked Kongo. Kongo appeared to be completely dazed, and Barry kept pushing for the finish, yet he couldn’t quite close the door. Somehow, despite not being able to stay on his feet, Kongo kept going and stayed in the fight. I sat and watched as the ref jumped, ready to stop the bout only to retreat once Kongo showed he still had his head, albeit barely. It was just a matter of time before Barry completed his knockout. Then as if he had felt some divine intervention, Kongo, who still didn’t even appear to have his legs back completely, landed a punch behind Barry’s ear and followed it with a vicious right uppercut. Kongo had just turned a sure defeat into a thrilling victory as Barry fell backwards unconcious.
And to think, I almost didn’t care enough to watch since it was only a “free” event.