26 seconds. 26 seconds was all it took for a total momentum swing in the fight between Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo and for questions to be asked about what is next for both guys. The UFC on Versus card got off to a shaky start Saturday with news that Nate Marquardt was out of the main event due to a failed medical exam. As the day went on we found out that Marquardt was not only off the card, but was also out of the UFC after Dana White fired him. White was unable to comment further due to the laws of the Pennsylvania state athletic commission, but his body language and his actions made it clear that Marquardt had made a pretty bad mistake. We then found out that Kongo vs. Berry (which was originally the co-main event) had been bumped up to the headliner.
I wasn’t a huge fan of either guy. Nothing against them, they just wouldn’t have ranked in my top 10 of guys I want to see fight. That has now changed after an exciting and crazy fight which saw Kongo come back from two knockdowns to KO Barry with a wild right hand and uppercut combination.
The whole sequence took 26 seconds, and at the end announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan were calling it the wildest knockout they could remember in their more than 2000 fights announced together.
The fight started off with both guys circling and throwing leg kicks before Barry scored the first knockdown with a strong right hand. Kongo was in trouble and Barry jumped on him looking for the finish. The taller Kongo was able to scramble to his feet before another Barry punch dropped him. At this point you had to believe it was just a matter of time until Barry got the win, but in one of the great comebacks you will see, Kongo stunned Barry with his own right hand, before finishing him with a brutal uppercut. Barry was out cold with his eyes wide open for a period of time before being helped to a stool.
I’m trying to think what else can be accomplished in 26 seconds that would bring that much back and forth excitement and also can be written about in this blog.The answer is not much.
There are always going to be big plays in the major four sports, but I can’t remember any where a guy is a hero for 23 seconds and out cold for the final 3. You have to wonder about the effects for both fighters. I bet we see Kongo in with one of the young heavyweight prospects that have been so impressive recently. Kongo vs. Matt Mitrione, Dave Herman, or Travis Browne would all be good fights. A win over any of those three and Kongo gets himself in line for a fight with one of the big names in the division.
The effects on Barry could be more telling. Barry started his career 4-0, but is now 2-3 over his past 5 fights. A pitcher in baseball can have an awful night, then come back four nights later to strikeout 12. It’s not that easy in MMA, especially when you fight in the UFC. Barry’s ability to forget about a fight in which he snagged defeat from the jaws of victory will be important. It may be easier said than done knowing that highlight is going to be shown over and over again. Those 26 seconds capped a crazy weekend in which Nate Marquardt was shown the door, and Kongo vs. Barry turned into a fight none of us will forget for a long time.