Future Looks Bright: Ian Garry Overcomes Early Adversity at UFC 285, Stops Song Kenan

Ian Garry and Song Kenan, UFC 285
Ian Garry and Song Kenan, UFC 285 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Rising Irish talent and heir apparent to Conor McGregor in MMA, Ian Garry returned at UFC 285 and tried to stay undefeated as a pro in his fourth UFC fight.

Garry fought Song Kenan, who returned to action after a two year layoff since his last fight, a knockout loss. The Chinese prospect looked to bounce back strongly with the skills he learned in the time off, and to spoil the party of a potential future top contender.

The welterweight pair began the fight patiently, feeling each other out with occasional jabs and low kicks. Ian Garry slowly pushed Kenan back to the outside of the octagon. When Garry found the range he started to let go with straight rights, sometimes quickly behind his jab. Song Kenan hardly threw any punches, refusing to open himself up to the sharpshooting of Garry. The calf kicks from Garry had already seemingly hurt the calf of Kenan by the halfway mark of the first round.

Garry still remained patient, to the mild annoyance of a slightly restless crowd. He was slowly overwhelming Song with jabs and low kicks until one minute left in the round; Ian Garry stepped in to throw punches but Song Kenan suddenly hurt him badly with a perfect counter left hook. Garry fell to his back but jumped up as Kenan tried to get on top of him. Song Kenan got the rear body-lock and held Garry there, perhaps letting the Irishman recover. Garry pressed forward for the final seconds of the round but the damage had been done, and one moment may have lose him the round.

Round two started with the same dynamic as round one. Garry just touched Kenan up slowly. Garry began to use front kicks more often as opposed to round one when he only did round kicks. Still, Kenan seemed nonplussed despite slowly being out-struck. At the halfway mark of the round Garry finally opened up, swarming the Chinese fighter with punches and kicks, attacking the body as well. But Kenan survived and got back to the center of the octagon.

Garry pace’s increased just a measure now, perhaps feeling more confident after the knockdown at the end of round one. More and more he strung together combinations instead of just a solitary jab or kick. At times he would level change and land a straight right to the stomach, which was consistently his best shot. The left eye and left calf of Kenan seemed quite beat up by the time the buzzer ended the round.

The fighters hyped the crowd up together as the final round started, waving their hands above their head. The pace began at a much higher pace this round than either of the others, with even Song Kenan doing more, not that that is saying much. Head kicks often followed the jab of Ian Garry, many of which came inches from landing cleanly on the side of Kenan’s head. The attritional work of Garry was excellent, but he was lacking the ability to pierce through the guard with one massive punch to get the hurt foe out of there, despite his best efforts with the occasional flying knee, head kick, or overhand.

Blood poured from the nose of Kenan, his left eye was swollen so badly that it appeared closed, and his calf was tenderinzed. With one minute left Garry suddenly opened up with an intense, high volume combination. A flying knee pushed Kenan to the fence. He ripped to the body then waded forward attacking the head and body with big hooks as Kenan retreated and fell down. It was then a simple matter for Ian Machado Garry to hammerfist his way to a stoppage against a turtled up Song Kenan to improve to 11-0 as a professional MMA fighter.

Following the fight, “The Future” called for a spot at the upcoming UFC 287 card in Miami. That would be an impressively quick turnaround, should the promotion’s matchmakers acquiesce.

Official Result: Ian Garry def. Song Kenan by TKO (punches), Round 3, 4:22