Pat "HD" Barry engaged in a tremendous kickboxing matchup with Stefan "Skyscraper" Struve in Washington, D.C. at the Verizon Center this past Saturday evening.
Unfortunately for Barry, this bout took place in an Octagon and was a mixed martial arts contest in which "HD" suffered his second consecutive defeat when the "Skyscraper" locked up a triangle choke forcing a tap-out at the 3:22 mark of Round 2, once again exposing Barry's missing puzzle piece to his overall skill set.
Taking advantage of Barry's weakness in the jiu-jitsu game, Struve maximized his strengths as he secured a tight triangle choke, endured a savage power bomb from "HD" and still maintained control for the submission victory.
Now 6-4 in his professional MMA career, outside of the knockout loss by Cheick Kongo in June, Barry's remaining three defeats were by submission.
Succumbing to a guillotine choke at UFC 98, Barry suffered his first defeat inside the Octagon at the hands of Tim Hague.
Additionally, picking apart his icon Mirko Cro Cop with a flurry of punches and kicks at UFC 115 in June of 2010, Barry controlled the stand-up exchanges with his excellent striking skills, yet was ultimately defeated by a rear-naked choke from the Croatian at the 4:30 mark of Round 3.
Cro Cop's submission defeat of Barry was only the second tap-out victory for Filipovic in 39 professional mixed martial arts contests, proving that Cro Cop is not a wizard on the ground.
The blueprint of an MMA superstar includes excellent stand-up skills, the heart of a champion, a tremendous cardiovascular conditioning tank and being well-versed in both grappling and jiu-jitsu.
Barry possesses the majority of this blueprint. A tremendous striker, Barry's background in kickboxing makes him a lethal threat on his feet.
Delivering brutal leg kicks with a myriad of punches and high kicks, "HD's" pedigree as a kickboxer is world-class.
Training in the Netherlands with kickboxing legend Ernesto Hoost for more than two years and now honing his skills with another kickboxing legend, Dick Roufus, Barry is one of the sport's premiere stand-up striking specialists.
At 5'11", 240-plus pounds, Barry is typically out-sized in his competitions inside the Octagon. Placing any fear aside, this explosive, compact striker will stand toe-to-toe with any fighter of any size, proving that he has the heart and determination of a champion.
Many heavyweights are criticized for their lack of cardiovascular conditioning. And many more have suffered defeats when their aerobic capacity fails them inside the Octagon. To date, "HD" is not one of those fighters.
Granted, competing in only seven bouts under the UFC banner, of which only his matchup with Joey Beltran went the distance, it is hard to gauge just how in shape Barry truly is. However, Barry has shown to be properly conditioned for each one of his bouts.
The remaining facet of an MMA superstar is two-fold. First, mixed martial artists need to be able to defend the take-down and deliver a take-down when necessary.
Surprisingly, Barry possesses a staggering 92 percent defense take-down rate. Not surprisingly, however, Barry has attempted only one take-down inside the Octagon. He was not successful.
Secondly, mixed martial artists need to, at the very least, be able to defend the basic submission attempts, including arm-bars, triangle chokes, guillotine chokes, kimuras and omoplatas. Combining the ability to defend against these common holds in addition to learning a few sweeps from the guard and half-guard is invaluable for a practitioner inside the Octagon.
Joe Rogan used to comically state that excellent stand-up strikers need to just train jiu-jitsu. And I could not agree more.
A glaring weakness of a fighter is easily exposed inside the cage. Struve took full advantage of Barry's liability on the ground by securing the triangle choke and forcing a tap-out.
If Barry would only enhance his weaknesses and maximize his strengths by evolving his jiu-jitsu game while continuing to train his kickboxing, he would be an overall threat inside the Octagon.
"HD" would possess all the facets for the blueprint of MMA stardom.
This evolution of "HD's" skill set would catapult the world-class striker into heavyweight contention talk. There is not a heavyweight within the UFC with whom Barry cannot stand and trade inside the Octagon.
Until he enhances his ground game, however, Barry will remain on the outside of the top five ranked heavyweights within the UFC looking in.
I welcome your comments.