Photo by MMA Junkie

In a comeback for the ages, Cheick Kongo survived a crushing right hand from Pat Barry to land one of his own that ended the fight in unbelievably dramatic fashion.

As expected, both guys came out and exchanged heavy leg kicks to start the fight, but it was the right hand from Barry that kicked off a sequence of action that looked like something choreographed in a Hollywood studio.

The right hand sent Kongo crashing to the canvas, and Barry swarmed looking for the finish. A wobbly Kongo scrambled to his feet and as Barry came forward recklessly looking to end the fight, he uncorked a right hand that stunned Barry, then followed up with another that knocked Barry out on his feet.

It was an unbelievable end to the Heavyweight clash that was elevated to main event status last minute, after Nate Marquardt was released by the UFC for failing his medicals, and one that will remembered for a long, long time.

Charlie Brenneman stuns top contender Rick Story

With Nate Marquardt out, Charlie Brenneman asked for, and was given a shot at the surging Rick Story. He capitalized on the opportunity by derailing the six-fight winning streak of Story with a convincing unanimous decision victory.

Brenneman effectively neutralized the power and offense of Rick Story by applying constant pressure and using his speed over the first two rounds, taking Story down repeatedly and controlling the action from the top.

Coming into the final round, there was a real sense of urgency in the corner of Rick Story.

Story responded, coming out swinging in the third, and started to set up his submission game working on the left arm of Brenneman on two different occasions. After a baffling stand up by the referee with Story attempting to set up a possible kimura, Story eventually got the fight back to the ground and transitioned to a dominating full mount position late in the round. Unfortunately for Story, he was unable to mount any type of damaging offense from the top while Brenneman fought to hang on as time wound down on the final round.

The unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-38) improves Brenneman’s UFC record to 3-1 (14-2 MMA).

Matt Brown outlasts John Howard

With both guys desperately needing a win for some added job security, Matt Brown and John Howard engaged in a grueling three-round battle of attrition, but in the end it would be Matt Brown that would walk away with a unanimous decision victory.

John Howard jumped out to an early lead in the first round, punishing the legs of Brown with brutal leg kicks, getting the better of the stand-up exchanges.

Inexplicably, in the second frame Howard went away from what was working for him in the first, looking instead to get the fight the ground on repeated occasions. Brown showed a decided improvement in his wrestling and take down defense, making Howard spend a tremendous amount of energy in his attempts to take the fight to the mat.

With a take down of his own, mixed with some great scrambles on the ground, Brown started to take control in the second. He continued to apply pressure to the fading Howard in the final stanza, and earned the decision with scores of 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.

The win stops a three-fight skid for Brown in the UFC, moving him to 12-10 overall ( 5-4 UFC).

Mitrione KO’s Morecraft

Matt Mitrione took one step closer to being a true contender in the UFC’s Heavyweight division with an impressive and dominant second-round KO of Christian Morecraft.

Mitrione outgunned Morecraft from the start, landing crisp, straight left hands that continuously found their mark. Mitrione dropped Morecraft with one of those lefts during an exchange in the first, and despite not being able to finish the fight, Mitrione sent a very clear message to Morecraft going into the second.

Morecraft opted to take the fight to the ground in the second, but a stall in the action prompted a restart from the referee. The stand up was just the opportunity Mitrione needed to put the fight away.

Mitrione landed a flush right hand, then followed up with a staggering straight left that put Morecraft out on his feet. As Morecraft crashed to the mat, Mitrione turned and walked away, putting an exclamation point on his fifth straight win to start his young MMA career, all five coming in the UFC’s Octagon.

The win for Mitrione likely means that he will now face the upper-echelon talent of the UFC’s stacked Heavyweight division. UFC president Dana White hinted that an impressive win in tonight’s event would put Mitrione in position to be one-more win away from title contender status.

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