What do you put on a card headlined by a pair of heavyweights who are known for slugging it out? MORE HEAVYWEIGHTS THAT SLUG IT OUT!
Fight Breakdown: Pat Barry is a fairly simple fighter. He hits hard, can take a big shot and has just enough grappling to tap guys with poor submission defense. He’ll never be a threat to finish anyone of note on the ground; he makes his living throwing hands and figuring out whether it’ll be he or his opponent who goes unconscious first. While I worry for his long term brain health … I enjoy his ability to just say “eff it” and find his niche as a hard throwing kickboxer with no desire to fight on the ground.
Soa Palelei isn’t the type that’ll want to say “eff it” and turn this into a NAGA match, either. He loves to throw and is a less skilled version of Barry in a lot of ways. He’s not exactly a grappler, more of a brawler who has stayed relevant in the heavyweight division by being tougher than nails. He has a high level grappling pedigree, holding a black belt in BJJ apparently, but he never really uses it all that much.
Ladies and gentleman … welcome to your near guaranteed “just bleed” fight of the night.
If Palelei wants to win he’ll need to get this to the ground and start throwing up submissions like someone has kidnapped his family and he has to get the submission or they’re going to die. He has a clear and distinct edge in this department and his easier path of victory is getting to the ground and going for the tap. Barry has good defensive submission defense but it’s not spectacular.
Most likely he’ll want to stand and throw down with Barry, where he’s got a 50/50 shot. Barry has no problem eating some punches to land something big and this could turn ugly quickly if he eats too much.
Why it matters – Barry is the standard for UFC heavyweights in one way: he’s about as low on the totem pole as it gets. If you can beat Barry odds are you’ll at least be in the UFC for some time. If you can’t … well … there’s always a Bellator tournament you can enter against a random Russian or Brazilian. He’s a bigger version of Joe Lauzon in a way. A lot of guys have found pink slips waiting for them after fighting “HD,” who has stuck around longer than he probably should have because he’s never dull.
Palelei is on his second stint in the UFC and a loss here puts him at 1-1, with a god awful win over Nikita Krylov. A loss here and he still has a job … but he won’t have one for long. A loss to Barry and he’s essentially another loss away from being out of the company again. It’s not must win … but he’ll be short for the UFC world with a loss.
Prediction – Barry
Tags: Pat Barry, Soa Palelei