The UFC is coming to Pittsburgh, PA this weekend and will be free on the Versus network.  The event is slotted not on its usual day though, the televised portion will start this SUNDAY beginning at 9 pm.  This card has action written all over it from the first prelim to the main event.

In the main event, veteran Nate "The Great" Marquardt looks to slow down the pace of Rick "The Horror" Story.  Story has been on a run as of late winning his last six fights in the UFC.  Notably his last fight, he won in total dominating fashion over top welterweight Thiago Alves back at UFC 130.  The Horror took this fight vs. Marquardt on short notice after welterweight contender Anthony Johnson pulled out due to injury.  This gives Story a great chance to shoot right to the top of the division and he could be one or two wins a way from a title shot.  Nate Marquardt is on a one fight win streak, winning an unanimous decision over New Jersey's Dan Miller at UFC 130.  Nate hasn't lived up to his hype, showing flashes of greatness but struggling with powerful opponents.  Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami dominated Marquardt in their #1 contender bouts, making Nate drop down to the welterweight division.  I feel Story is a bad match up for the veteran Marquardt.  Story has a good striking game and he mixes it up well with his takedowns, something I dont think "The Great" will be able to stop.  Nate has to keep his distance and strike Rick as he tries to punch his way in for the takedown.  That will be difficult to do as I predict as victory for "The Horror".

Prediction - Rick Story wins via Unanimous decision.

The co-main event looks to be the most exciting fight of the night on paper with two big time heavyweight strikers going at it.  Cheick Kongo looks to get back in the mix in the division vs. rising kickboxing star Pat Barry.  Kongo hasn't been on his A-game of late, dropping his last 3 of 4 fights. His wrestling and ground game have improved over his last couple of fights, and he used his new tools to beat Paul Buentello back at UFC on Versus "Jones vs. Vera."   Kongo might look to take Barry down if he eats to many leg kicks.  But I see this fight standing and really getting crazy with both fighters looking for the KO of the night honors.  Barry is coming off that impressive win of Joey Beltran, where Pat put on a clinic of leg kicks for the unanimous decision victory.  I would like to see Pat Barry let his hands and kicks go a little more, he’s always waiting to counter or gassing out. Kongo is a big dude, and could wear down Barry later in the rounds.  I don't see that happening as I predict a win for Barry

Prediction - Pat Barry wins via KO in the 2nd round.

Our next fight gives our co-main event a run for its money for most exciting fight on paper, you can also say that it’s a winner stays, loser gets cut fight.  John "Doomsday' Howard looks to get back in the win column as he faces striker Matt Brown.  Howard is on a two fight losing streak, falling short to Thiago Alves and Jake Ellenberger in 2010.  "Doomsday" looks to start off 2011 with a knockout, literally, as he faces highly entertaining UFC welterweight fighter Matt Brown, who currently is on a three fight losing streak, falling to 2nd round submissions in all of those fights.  Brown is still in the UFC because of his fighting style:  he’s either knocking someone out or being choked out.  His fights are brawls and always have that wow factor.  This matchup is exciting to think about, and I really feel they’re just gonna meet in the center of the ring and trade punches and kicks.  As I'm seeing the fight play out in my head, I see Brown going for a body kick and being countered by a straight cross, left hook combo from Howard, ending the fight and Matt Brown's UFC career.

Prediction - John "Doomsday" Howard wins via 1st round

In our last featured bout we go back to the Heavyweights, as Matt Mitrione, a TUF winner and UFC veteran who possess a 4-0 record inside the octagon, faces young up and coming fighter Christian Morecraft.  Mitrione has been very impressive coming off the show and has noticeably been improving in every fight.  With wins over Marcus Jones, Kimbo Slice, Joey Beltran and knocking out Tim Hauge in the 1st round in his last fight, Mitirone looks to keep climbing the latter in the heavyweight division by taking out New York Native Morecraft.  Morecraft came on the scene losing to Stefan Struve by strikes in the 2nd round but then bounced back and had an upset victory over outspoken heavyweight Sean McCorkle by submission.  I think Mitrione is on a different level right now;  he's been in the UFC for some time.  He's looking good, very confident and very strong with brutal KO power.  Morecraft is going to have to look to get this fight to the ground and grind out a victory.  I don't picture that happening as I predict Mitrione will dominate this fight and will end up fighting a big name in the division after he gets the victory.

Prediction - Matt Mitrione wins via TKO referees stoppage in the 3rd

And let’s not forget that Facebook will be streaming all the prelim fights starting around 5:50 pm.  I cannot wait to watch these fights as these non-televised bouts have huge names and great match ups.  Some fights and fighters that will be shown on Facebook will be Tyson Griffin vs. Manny Gamburyan;  Joe "Daddy" Stevenson drops to 145 and faces a difficult task in Javier Vazquez, Joe Lauzon faces Curt Warburton, Daniel "Ninja" Roberts takes on former TUF contestant Rich Attonito and Former Ring of Combat champion Charles Oliveira mixes it up with Nick Lentz.

Looks to be a great night of fights, all for free!  Remember these fights are on Sunday night, not Saturday.  I’ll be doing the play by play on Twitter, so follow me to keep up with all the action @VJ_Torres.



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