Kicking off the FX-broadcast main card of the UFC’s return to Nashville, TN was a heavyweight collision between striking specialist Pat Barry and up-and-comer Christian Morecraft.
The two fighters may very well have been fighting for their jobs in the contest, as the former K-1 competitor Barry entered the contest on a two-fight losing streak, having been knocked out by Cheick Kongo and submitted by Stefan Struve in two previous Octagon appearances. Morecraft, on the other hand, carried a record of 1-2 with the promotion. Despite an undefeated record when he signed with the UFC, the East Coast native succumbed to knockouts in two of his three Octagon bouts.
What We’ll Remember about This Fight
The two evolving fighters both showed off new parts of their fight game. Morecraft scored multiple takedowns and threatened with a number of submission attempts, including a deep armbar. Barry escaped the perilous positions and was able to return the fight to the feet.
From there, he slipped a punch from Morecraft and connected with a massive left hook that sent Morecraft crashing to the mat. Barry followed with a right hand that put Morecraft out for good and referee Herb Dean waived it off.
What We Learned about Pat Barry
Despite the many criticisms of his ground game prior to the fight, the former kickboxing showcased his newfound submission defense. Barry survived both an arm-triangle choke and deep armbar by utilizing solid technique. Coupled with his lighting fast hands, Barry proved he is becoming a complete fighter.
What We Learned about Christian Morecraft
Although he looked strong for the first half of the opening round, Morecraft again showed that his chin cannot hold up to the rigors of the heavyweight division. His ground game looked strong, but the young fighter was unable to finish.
What’s Next for Barry
Having avoided the promotional chopping block, a dream matchup for Barry would be a fight with former K-1 champion Mark Hunt, should he defeat Cheick Kongo at UFC 144. Another option may be vaunted Brazilian striker Ednaldo Oliveira.
What’s Next for Morecraft
With an Octagon record of just 1-3, it’s hard to imagine that Morecraft will get another bout with the promotion.