Pat Barry's submission defense is improving. | Photo: Sherdog.com
Pat Barry saw his finish of Christian Morecraft coming before he landed the crushing blow that spelled disaster for his opponent.
According to the heavyweight, he noticed an opening in Morecraft’s defense midway through round one, though the application of that knowledge would not come to fruition until the opening presented itself once more.
“Maybe 10 or 12 seconds before I threw the left hook, I saw the opening, and I went for it,” Barry told Fox Sports following his victory at UFC on FX 1 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. “Suddenly, Herb Dean was pulling me off of him. It was everything we hoped for in camp.”
A gifted striker, Barry’s ground game has predictably been his weak link since transitioning to mixed martial arts, his submission defense costing him in three of his four career losses. Initially, it appeared that Barry would once again show his relative inexperience on Saturday night, but “HD” showed improved skills on the floor, escaping Morecraft’s top control and submissions.
“In the heat of battle, it’s hard to tell [if a submission is close], but the armbar was in,” Barry said of Morecraft’s tightest submission attempt, which he managed to escape after a struggle.
Barry nearly attempted a submission of his own, grabbing a guillotine choke with his back against the cage. However, Barry admitted later that he strayed from the game plan by considering the submission finish in the bout’s opening minutes.
“I’m very prone to going for submissions and squeezing with everything I have. When it doesn’t work, my arms and legs go numb,” said Barry. “[My coach and I] agreed before the fight that I could only go for a submission if there were 10 seconds or less before the end of a round. I had [the guillotine], and I almost started celebrating. Then I looked over [to my corner] and [my coach] was shaking his head.”
Barry credits his preparation at Team Death Clutch, with competitors like former UFC champion Brock Lesnar and current Bellator king Cole Konrad, for his growing poise on the mat.
“I think that was the first time I was the smallest guy in the room, when I was rolling around with the big guys at Death Clutch. Wrestling is the most tiring thing in the world,” said Barry. “I never knew I was claustrophobic until I had these guys lying on top of me. Now it’s becoming a little more second nature, being on the ground and [reacting] to being in trouble instead of just panicking.”
While Barry has faced a considerable list of talent since joining the UFC in 2008, the 32-year-old is most concerned about what lies ahead as he continues to round out his skills as a mixed martial artist.
“It’s the evolution of the sport. I’m not as bad as people think. I just haven’t done it a lot. This is like third or fourth time I’ve done live groundwork [in a fight],” Barry said. “I’m going to throw heat at anybody, no matter who it is. I fought [Mirko] ‘Cro Cop’ [Filipovic], [Cheick] Kongo and Stefan Struve. Morecraft was a bigger fight to me than all of those, because every fight is the next big fight.”