It was an absolute no-win spot for Rick Story. The fast-rising welterweight was told about a new opponent yesterday when Nate Marquardt was dropped from UFC on Versus 4 and fired by the promotion. Charlie Brenneman, a little-known former college wrestler with just three UFC fights under his belt, was Johnny-on-the-spot, as stepped up to take the fight and stole a unanimous decision victory in Pittsburgh, 29-28 across the board.
This is a devastating loss for Story. A win over Marquardt would've gotten him in the mix for a title shot against Georges St. Pierre. Now Story (14-5, 6-2 UFC) goes back into the muddled picture at 170 pounds.
Brenneman deserves a ton of credit. He was already slated to fight on the card when T.J. Grant bailed from the event with an injury on Monday. It's likely Brenneman was told to stay in shape and be ready just in case something happened with Marquardt. Earlier in the day, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commisson revealed that the Marquardt issue arose as far back as six weeks ago.
Facing a wrestler is always a dangerous spot for a huge favorite. Takedowns and top control can steal minutes away from the more dangerous fighter. That's exactly what happened to Story, who entered the fight as a minus-500 favorite.
The change of style had to be an issue as well. In Marquardt, Story was facing a well-rounded fighter who was likely to bang it out on the feet. Brenneman, who wrestled at Lock Haven (Pa.), is still very much a one-trick pony in MMA. That trick was more than enough to throw Story off his game.
Brenneman got the fight to floor in the first when he landed a thudding right and tripped Story. Also a former college wrestler, Story look really uncomfortable on his back. He did nothing but hold on, to try and force a stand up. It never happened. The fight stayed on the floor for the remaining three minutes.
Seven seconds into the second, Brenneman again scored a takedown. He landed another one with 3:10 left in the round. Story tried some submissions, but never got back to his feet. In the third. it was more of the same but Story threatened with some more dangerous submission. He also turned a scramble into the mount position with 1:18 left, but there wasn't enough to inflict any damage.
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