UFC on Versus 4 Fight Card: Official Fight Card Bonuses to Bank on
There's no question that when Nate "The Great" Marquardt is at the top of his game; not even the most promising of fighters at 185 pounds can shut him down.
Nate "The Great" has made a case for himself as being one of the toughest finishers in the sport, as has been evident by his track record in the middleweight division.
However, the question for this weekend is not whether Marquardt is a tough finisher in MMA.
The question is, will he be able to make the drop to welterweight and remain the same tough finisher at 170 lbs. that he was at 185 lbs.?
If fast-rising welterweight Rick "The Horror" Story has anything to say or do about it, the fight will end before Marquardt is able to get the chance to answer the question of whether he can be as competitive at 170 as he was at 185.
Additionally, Pat Barry has found success in his UFC career, save for bouts against Tim Hague and Mirko Filipovic, but on his way up the UFC ladder, he faces the inevitable encounter with an exciting yet controversial kickboxer who is one of the more exciting gatekeepers in the UFC heavyweight division in Cheick Kongo.
Though Kongo's likely to be the favorite due to his wrestling and ground game being more clear than Barry's ground game, "Mr. Hype or Die" cannot be prematurely perceived as an underdog, especially since the Roufusport wrecking machine has found some strong company within Brock Lesnar's Deathclutch camp, and that strong company could be one to point fingers at if we should see any takedown defense from this comical yet passionate young prospect.
All this and more can be seen this Sunday at UFC Live on Versus 4: Marquardt vs. Story, but who will walk out with the big bucks when all is said and done?
Submission of the Night: Javier Vazquez
Two submission artists, both known for having crushing ground games and unforgiving submissions, but only one can win.
For Joe "Daddy" Stevenson, this is a must win situation, as he's 2-3 in his last five fights, though he was saved after the loss to Mac Danzig because he did "what he was supposed to do," according to Dana White.
A loss to Danny Castillo has made this featherweight bout do-or-die for the TUF 2 welterweight winner, and considering that Javier "Showtime" Vazquez is a crafty, underrated submission mastermind on the ground, Stevenson's best hope could be a decision.
However, a loss to Nate Diaz could have meant termination for Stevenson, and yet Stevenson was able to turn in an exciting and well-earned decision win, so perhaps Stevenson is the type that outperforms the lot when his back is against the wall.
If not, expect Vazquez to use a Stevenson takedown against him. pulling off a beautiful triangle-Armbar on Stevenson for the victory.
Knockout of the Night: Pat Barry
My original prediction for this fight was simply Barry winning by leg kicks, but that was only part of my original prediction.
If you'd like an in depth prediction, the leg kicks will be the foundation of the knockout.
See, Barry will use the leg kicks after defending Kongo's takedowns, which Kongo will go for out of respect for the striking of Kongo.
However, the striking game of Barry will be too much for even Kongo to handle, and he will be affected by the leg kicks.
The nail in the coffin, however, will be a head kick that lays Kongo out as he staggers to his feet, nabbing the KO of The Night bonus for the Roufusport striker.
Fight of the Night No. 1: Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story
Combine Nate Marquardt's style with that of Rick Story, add in the fact that there is still a question of how Marquardt will perform at 170, and what you have is the first of two Fight of The Night picks.
Somehow, Story will not find himself finished in this fight, and neither will Marquardt, despite the respective efforts of both men.
Granted, it will not be a split decision, but the fight will reach the judges after 15 long minutes.
Who will win a round and who will win the other two rounds?
That's something that will have to wait until Sunday.
Fight of the Night #2: Tyson Griffin vs. Manvel Gamburyan
There's just something about this fight, I can't quite pinpoint what it is...
Both guys can be explosive, both guys have shown that they each can take a punch, and both guys are dangerous on the ground.
Marquardt vs. Story will be mentioned as the first Fight of The Night winner, but this fight will be everyone's first choice for Fight of The Night.