After UFC on Fox 2, with a terrific undercard followed by a fairly lackluster main card, some changes needed to be made to make it more “exciting.” Thus a fight like Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson gets pushed to the main card when it normally would be reserved for the undercard. Barry is a popular fighting, and a Johnson is never known for a want of action, but it’s normally not one that winds up in a prominent spot on either pay per view or a UFC on Fox card. It’s more of a UFC on Fuel TV kind of fight but with the complaints about the dullness of the main card in Chicago it’s easy to see why this fight made it as far up as it did.
As much as both fighters are fairly rounded, in that they’re not completely inept on the ground, but Johnson and Barry aren’t known for their ground game or desire to end the fight there. It’ll be odd if this fight turns into a grappling match because both fighters prefer to stand and trade more often than not. And that’s where this fight will be decided; on the feet.
Barry and Johnson are known for being some of the hardest hitters in the heavyweight division and if this fight ends up going to decision it’ll be surprising. Both men are known for either delivering or being on the end of knockout shots and that’s most likely how this fight is going to be decided. But it’s in how they get there that’s the interesting thing.
Johnson is much more a brawler than a refined striker in contrast to Barry, who spent many years as a professional kickboxer of some acclaim. If there’s a place where Barry can win the fight on the feet it’s by being the more technical striker. Johnson doesn’t have the refined striking technique that Barry does, swinging much more wildly, and if Barry can keep from getting into a brawl and make it a more technical striking match then he’ll be on the winning end of things most likely.
Barry’s leg kicks are going to be the key here; Johnson may brawl but he does one thing extraordinarily well is use his legs to help generate power in his punches. Barry is good at using leg kicks to batter an opponent down and chopping down Johnson is going to be the key to the fight. If he can tone down the power of Johnson he can get into the wild striking exchanges he’s known for and have the advantage. Barry has power in his hands but Johnson might be able to hit harder in that regard.
Using a common opponent, Joey Beltran was able to withstand 15 minutes of striking from Barry but Johnson knocked him out. Beltran has one of the better chins in the division, too, so Barry has to be weary of getting into prolonged striking exchanges. Watch for a lot of lateral movement as well; Barry needs to stretch out the fight as long as he can and wear out Johnson.
If he can … he can finish him late. Barry could catch him with a flash KO early as easily as Johnson could as well; this is a fight that most likely is going to end with someone unconscious and probably early.
Prediction – Barry via KO, 2nd Round
Tags: Lavar Johnson, Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Barry, UFC on FOX 3