Sunday’s UFC on Versus 4 event featured a heavyweight battle between strikers Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry, just a day after losing the planned main event of Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story.  The event took place from Pittsburgh’s CONSOL Energy Center and the night’s main card aired live on Versus.

Kongo survives Barry’s barrage; delivers KO for the ages

In the night’s main event, Frenchman Cheick Kongo managed to survive a brutal barrage from former K-1 participant Pat Barry and delivered an unreal KO.

Neither fighter was willing to touch gloves in the pre-fight instructions.  After a brief feeling out process with each fighter traded kicks, Barry connected with a combination that sent Kongo crashing to the mat.  Barry rushed in for the finish, and referee Dan Miragliotta followed.  Kongo desperately tried for a takedown and Barry again clipped him with a punch.  Miragliotta appeared to step in, but then allowed the fight to continue.  Kongo, back against the fence, tagged Barry with a left hook and then a massive right uppercut that put Barry out for good.

The exciting exchange earned the Frenchman the Knockout of the Night bonus.  All of the action was over by the midway point of the first round.

Brenneman upsets Story; rattles welterweight pecking order

Despite only having one day to prepare for the dangerous Rick Story, Charlie Brenneman used his superior wrestling to derail Story’s contender status and establish himself as a dangerous opponent for anyone in the 170 lb division.

The bout materialized after a series of strange events.  Brenneman was originally slated to face TJ Grant, but the Canadian was forced off the card due to illness.  Story was on tap to battle Nate Marquardt, but Marquardt failed his pre-fight medicals and was subsequently cut from the UFC.

The first round featured a number of scrambles, but Brenneman would land a stiff right hand that led to a takedown.  Brenneman worked to side control, but Story eventually recovered guard.  The round ended with Brenneman continuing to work from top position.

In the second frame, Brenneman scored with a takedown, but was forced to defend a choke attempt from Story.  The pair returned to their feet briefly, but Brenneman put Story on his back yet again and finished the round in top position.

A desperate Story pushed the pace in the final stanza.  Another takedown from Brenneman was met with kimura from Story, but the referee stood the fighters up.  Almost immediately, the fighters were back in the position, only this time, Story managed to lock in a reverse triangle after a scramble.  Brenneman escaped, but Story moved to mount.  He looked to finish, but could not find a way.

Brenneman claimed a unanimous decision victory for his efforts.

Brown outwork Howard to save his job

Welterweight Matt Brown used a methodical approach to outwork lethal Muay Thai striker John Howard and take a unanimous decision victory.  After losing three straight fights, Brown likely was facing the chopping block had he not secured the victory.

Howard opened the fight by peppering Brown’s lead leg with kicks, but Brown showed his gritty resolve to move forward.  Brown nearly locked up a D’arce choke, but Howard finished the round strong with a slam.

The middle stanza saw Howard look to bring the fight to the mat.  Brown fending off his attempts with a standing guillotine.  Brown obtained top position midway through the round and despite a leglock attempt and sweep from Howard, Brown managed to attack with an omo plata as the round came to a close.

The pair looked exhausted entering the third round.  Howard again attacked Brown’s leg, but was again forced to fight off of his back.  Howard managed to get a takedown late in the round, but was unable to finish a kimura as the bell sounded.

Brown claimed a unanimous decision in a fight that was expected to be fireworks, but failed to live up to the billing.

Mitrione finishes Morecraft to remain undefeated

Heavyweights Matt Mitrione and Christian Morecraft met in the night’s opening televised fight.  Despite an experience disadvantage, Mitrione showed an ever-improving standup arsenal to KO his opponent late in the middle frame.

The fight started with a feeling out process of jabs and leg kicks.  “Meathead” connected with a straight left that dropped Morecraft briefly, but allowed him to stand back up.  Late in the round, Mitrione appeared to knock out Morecraft  with another big shot, but as he followed the fight to the mat, Morecraft recovered and finished the round in top control.

In the second, Morecraft looked visibly tired, but managed to take the fight to the mat on two occasions.  Returning to the feet, Mitrione unleashed a combo against the fence that dislodged Morecraft’s mouthpiece and sent him crashing to the mat.  Mitrione calmly walked away without inflicting further damage to his downed opponent.

Preliminary card summary

Tyson Griffin made his UFC featherweight debut and outworked former WEC title challenger Manny Gamburyan.  Using a vicious attack of leg kicks, Griffin slowed down the dangerous Armenian to take a majority decision victory.

Also making his UFC featherweight debut was former Ultimate Fighter winner Joe “Daddy” Stevenson.  Things did not go as well for the former lightweight title challenger.  Javier Vazquez simply beat him to the punch and takedown in every round, claiming a unanimous decision and likely ending Stevenson’s UFC run.

Lightweight Joe Lauzon wasted little time in disposing of Britain’s Curt Warburton.  Lauzon landed a left hook flush to Warburton’s jaw and when a flurry of punches and elbows wouldn’t finish off the Brit, the Boston-native locked in a fight-ending kimura that earned him the night’s submission of the night bonus.

Making his welterweight debut, Ultimate Fighter Season 11 alum Rich Attonito used superior wrestling to defeat Daniel “Ninja” Roberts.  Attonito was forced to survive a tense moment in the second round when Roberts took his back, but otherwise looked impressive.

In what was clearly the fight of night, lightweights Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz put on one of the most entertaining rounds in recent memory.  Lentz looked to use his wrestling to neutralize the dangerous Brazilian, but was met with an arsenal of upkicks, submission attempts, and devastating strikes.  Oliveira appeared to claim the first round and was again attacking in the second when he connected with a knee to Lentz’s jaw while he down on the mat.  Surprisingly, the referee missed the illegal blow and allowed the fight to continue.  Oliveira took advantage and forced a dazed Lentz to tap to a rear-naked choke.  The fight earned the pair Fight of the Night honors, and will likely be ruled a no contest after review by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.

Wrestling standouts Ricardo Lamas and Matt Grice collided in a featherweight bout that was filled with constant action.  Lamas got the better of the exchanges and finished off Grice late in the first with a beautiful combination.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 12 finalist Michael Johnson returned to action and finished off Edward Faaloloto late in the opening round of their lightweight tilt.

MAIN CARD RESULTS

Cheick Kongo def. Pat Barry by KO (punches). Round 1, 2:39

Charlie Brenneman def. Rick Story by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Matt Brown def. John Howard by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Matt Mitrione def. Christian Morecraft by KO (punches). Round 2, 4:28

PRELIMINARY CARD RESULTS

Tyson Griffin def. Manny Gamburyan by majority decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-29)

Javier Vazquez def. Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Joe Lauzon def. Curt Warburton by submission (kimura). Round 1, 1:58

Rich Attonito def. Daniel Roberts by unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Charles Oliveira def. Nik Lentz by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 1:48

Ricardo Lamas def. Matt Grice by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:41

Michael Johnson def. Edward Faaloloto by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:42

Photo: Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry (Tracy Lee/Combat Lifestyle)