UFC Live – Marquardt vs Story Preview & Pick- UFC On Versus 4
The UFC keeps churning out fight cards week after week. This Sunday’s is a freebie on Versus – but a goodie. Here’s the lowdown on the two main bouts.
Event: UFC on Versus 4
Date: June 26, 2011
Time: 9pm ET
Location: Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Rick Story (13-3) vs Nate Marquardt (31-10-2)
UFC odds: Story -130, Marquardt +100
Who could’ve imagined a year ago that we’d see Rick Story versus Nate Marquardt as a main event – and at 170 pounds, no less?
It’s a surprise to see each guy in this fight. Story is less than a month removed from an upset win over Thiago Alves, his sixth straight in the UFC. He took the Marquardt matchup on short notice after Anthony Johnson pulled out with an injury. Marquardt was already one of the biggest guys in the middleweight division, so it’s pretty shocking to see him drop down another weight class, even if he was slumping.
Though I was hoping to see Story get underdog odds on account of not yet being a household name, I’m still all over him as my pick. He makes sense on so many levels.
Marquardt’s huge frame shouldn’t scare you away from Story. Thiago Alves is just as big, reportedly walking around at 200-plus pounds despite fighting at 170, and Story had no problem going toe to toe with him. The size won’t be a factor.
What might be a factor: the weight cut. Marquardt is such a big guy it’s hard to imagine the cut going smoothly (Alves had already done it countless times before facing Story). He could easily gas out and/or get a case of the spaghetti legs. I also like Story from a pure fight perspective. He can handle Marquardt in the grappling game, as he’s a former collegiate wrestler. On the striking side, I give him the edge, too. Marquardt may be more technical but he’s become very tentative in recent bouts. Story is just the opposite. He’s a fearless, bulldog of a fighter who loves to walk forward and pressure his opponents.
Marquardt is a tough guy to finish, so he may not wind up unconscious on the canvas at the end of this fight, but I do think Story will overwhelm him. There’s big pressure on Marquardt to succeed and he’s come out flat in recent high-stakes fights. Pick: Story -130
Pat Barry (6-2) vs Cheick Kongo (15-6-2)
UFC odds: Barry +150, Kongo -180
Barry vs Kongo is a fun matchup for a few reasons. For one, it’s a battle of two elite kickboxers. Hopefully, their pride will kick in and they’ll really throw down. Secondly, it’s a chance for two arguably overrated fighters to put their money where their mouths are.
Barry enters the matchup with a bit more momentum. He pounded Joey Beltran’s leg into oblivion with devastating kicks to win his last fight; before that, he pummelled Mirko Cro Cop before he let up due to his own worship of his opponent and got choked out.
Kongo, on the other hand, could be facing a pink slip if he loses. He’s won just one of his last four fights. His last bout was particularly troubling; he labored against an inexperienced Travis Browne, lost a point for grabbing his shorts a thousand times and settled for a draw.
Even though Barry’s been the more successful fighter of late, I don’t like his chances on Sunday. To me, he’s more sideshow than contender in the heavyweight division. Yeah, he’s a hilarious interview and his kicks are awesome, but he showed a lack of focus in the Cro Cop fight. Worse, he was exhausted after three rounds with the crappy, crappy journeyman Beltran.
Kongo has everything to lose on Sunday. In theory, he should fight his heart out. His size should also pose problems for Barry. Pick: Kongo -180
UFC Live: Marquardt vs. Story: OFFICIAL FIGHT CARD
Welterweight bout: Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story
Heavyweight bout: Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry
Welterweight bout: Matt Brown vs. John Howard
Heavyweight bout: Matt Mitrione vs. Christian Morecraft
Preliminary card (Facebook)
Featherweight bout: Tyson Griffin vs. Manvel Gamburyan
Featherweight bout: Joe Stevenson vs. Javier Vazquez
Lightweight bout: Joe Lauzon vs. Curt Warburton
Welterweight bout: Daniel Roberts vs. Rich Attonito
Lightweight bout: Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira
Featherweight bout: Ricardo Lamas vs. Matt Grice
Lightweight bout: Michael Johnson vs. Edward Faaloloto