It may not have featured the smooth mixed martial arts technique of, say, Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II, but Cheick Kongo‘s astonishing knockout of Pat Barry will go down in history as one of the most dramatic comebacks the sport has ever seen.
Barry dropped Kongo with an overhand bomb in the first round that seemed to be a finisher. Barry swarmed and referee Dan Miragliotta almost stopped the bout, but Kongo, in an amazing display of resilience, returned to his feet. Mustering on, Kongo attempted a takedown, only to have Barry crack him again with another apparent KO punch that had the Frenchman reeling.
As Barry recklessly waded forward with his hands low, hunting for the kill shot, Kongo unleashed a big right of his own and followed with an uppercut that dropped Barry and rolled his eyes to the back of his head. This time, it was over for sure. It was a spectacular chain of events. Even the Octagon girls went nuts.
The match had been promoted to main event status after Nate Marquardt was unceremoniously let go from the UFC following medical testing issues.
Instead of Marquardt, Rick Story faced and lost to underdog Charlie Brenneman. Story himself was a replacement for Anthony Johnson, and had just fought three weeks earlier against Thiago Alves.
While the main event shocker helped erase the bad taste of the Nate-gate controversy, several fights on the card were marred by disastrous refereeing; notably by Chip Snider, who missed a blatant illegal knee by Charles Oliveira that contributed to his victory over Nik Lentz (Fight of the Night winner) and pressured Manny Gamburyan to not take the five minute break he was entitled to after a kick to the groin.
Big winners of the night also included Matt Mitrione, with a KO finish of Christian Morecraft, and Joe Lauzon, who pounded out and then submitted Curt Warburton (Submission of the Night).
Full results and motion gif of the big comeback below:
Cheick Kongo def. Pat Barry via KO (punches), round one
Charlie Brenneman def. Rick Story via unanimous decision
Matt Brown def. John Howard via unanimous decision
Matt Mitrione def. Christian Morecraft via KO (punches), round two
Tyson Griffin def. Manny Gamburyan via majority decision
Javier Vazquez def. Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision
Joe Lauzon def. Curt Warburton via submission (kimura), round one
Rich Attonito def. Daniel Roberts via unanimous decision
Charles Oliveira def. Nik Lentz via submission (rear-naked choke), round two
Ricardo Lamas def. Matt Grice via TKO (punches), round one
Michael Johnson def. Edward Faaloloto via TKO (punches), round one
Lessons learned: Hands up, even when your opponent is on queer street.