If Joseph Duffy was surprised to be handed a main card slot in front of his home crowd, then Paddy Holohan must be in danger of having to pull out due to excessive self-pinching.
Just a week after losing the co main-event bout, an intriguing and pertinent heavyweight clash between Stipe Miocic and Ben Rothwell, the UFC Dublin card was shorn of it’s main event.
Donegal born Joseph Duffy, famously the last man to best Conor McGregor, has looked like a serious prospect in his first two fights at lightweight. A win over Dustin Poirier, who has moved up a weight division since losing to McGregor and looked the better for it, would have cemented the belief that Duffy is a legit star.
Sadly a concussion suffered in training this week has ruled Duffy out and the fight will now be rescheduled for a later date yet to be confirmed.
McGregor kindly offered to step in and take on Poirier for a second time:
I will give peanut another crack at the King no sweat. I’ll take the gate. It’s my gate anyway. A cool 7. Cash. See you at the weigh ins.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 21, 2015
With the mega-fight with Jose Aldo rescheduled for December Dana White would be more likely to allow a 1970s BBC personality to babysit.
What we’re left with is a main card which more resembles an undercard. A fact the UFC have recognised by offering disgruntled fans a refund should they want one. Luckily for Dana White and co there are enough Irish fighters remaining and the local fan base will find sufficient enjoyment cheering them on. Just don’t expect the same fevered atmosphere which we experienced when the Zuffa bus rolled in to town in July of last year.
Paddy Holohan (12-1-1) v Louis Smolka (9-1)
Topping the pile is Patrick Holohan, a talented fighter and an entertaining personality who looks set to have a long and happy UFC career. However he doesn’t appear to be at championship level, at least not at this point, currently ranked around 20 in the flyweight division. A win over Louis Smolka (ranked 18th) won’t make a significant impact on that. Smolka beat Dubliner Neil Seery in his last outing so no doubt the commentators will mention motivations of revenge at some point. The two Dubs don’t train together so it’s unlikely Holohan cares less. This will be a tough match-up but if his compatriots have been successful in the earlier fights then Holohan will take the win, possibly via submission.
- Holohan to win via submission at 5/1
Neil Seery (15-11) v Jon Delos Reyes (8-4)
On the main card Neil Seery is favoured to get back to winning ways against American Jon Delos Reyes. The Dublin flyweight is 2-2 in the UFC with all four fights going the distance. Reyes is 1-2 in the octagon and has yet to see the start of the third round. Seery should be wily enough to avoid being submitted and with the crowd nicely boozed up by this point he’ll have the raucous support needed to get the the decision.
- Seery to win on points at 21/10
Aisling Daly (15-6) v Ericka Almeida (8-1)
A physically tough and well rounded fighter it often seems as though Aisling Daly’s biggest battles occur inside her own head. The outcome of this fight will largely come down to what kind of mental place she is in. If she’s feeling good and rides the support of the Dublin crowd then she should be expected to beat the less experienced, but still dangerous, Ericka Almeida. This is likely to come down to who wins the grappling contest.
- Daly to win at 8/11
Cathal Pendred (17-3-1) v Tom Breese (8-0)
The first Irish fighter up is the much beleagured Cathal Pendred. Despite holding a 4-1 record inside the Octagon you get the sense that the UFC would happily do without his tedious, grinding style of fighting. If only he didn’t help capture a little more of the Irish dollar. What he lacks in variety he makes up for with heart and the favour of the judges. Pendred needs an exciting, impressive win to increase his stock and it’s hard to see his opponent Tom Breese being happy to settle in to grappling contest. Breese is unbeaten professionally and has yet to go the distance (2 KOs and 6 submissions). He’s rightly the 2/5 favourite and Pendred will need to really up his game to get the win at 15/8. He put on his best effort for the UFC the last time he fought in Dublin and he may need another healthy dollop of hometown magic/luck/poor judging to beat Breese.
- Pendred to win on points at 10/3