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Monday, June 27, 2011
Kongo lands 'Knockout of the night'

By Franklin McNeil

Cheick Kongo
Cheick Kongo's battle back from the brink helped him earn a "KO of the night" bonus.
PITTSBURGH -- Once again UFC picks itself off the mat and scores a knockout.

Rarely does the promotion put as much stock in one fight as it did for UFC on Versus 4 on Sunday night at Consol Energy Center.

Arguably the most important fighter on the card was former middleweight contender Nate Marquardt, who was scheduled to make his UFC welterweight debut against Rick Story. But Marquardt failed his prefight medical examination and was not cleared to participate on the card by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.

That forced UFC president Dana White to look elsewhere for a main event. In stepped heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry. The heavy hitters entered the cage promising to inflict bodily harm on one another and they delivered on their promises to throw power shots. Kongo would stop Barry at 2:39 of the opening round to earn "Knockout of the night" honors.

An aggressive Joe Lauzon needed less than a round to grab "Submission of the Night," applying a kimura on fellow lightweight Curt Warburton at the 1:58 mark.

"Fight of the Night" went to lightweights Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz. The win went to Oliveira, who finished the contest with a rear-naked choke at 1:48 of Round 2. Oliveira’s win might not stand, however, as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission plans to review the fight after it appeared that Oliveira landed an illegal knee moments before putting the finishing touch on Lenz.

Kongo, Lauzon, Oliveira and Lenz each walked away with an additional $50,000 for their performances.

Overall, it was a decent night for UFC. The announced attendance was 7,792, while the gate generated $562,310.

As for Marquardt, his future as a mixed martial artist is in limbo.

“He’s on indefinite suspension,” PSAC executive director Greg Sirb told ESPN.com. “And that will apply throughout the country.

“He cannot fight until he gives us medical clearance for his medical records. When the clearance comes in we will take him off suspension. And it is a medical issue.”

Sirb would not reveal the nature of Marquardt’s medical condition.