UFC Fight Night 46 (UFC Dublin) was the promotion’s return to the country of Ireland in 5 years, the card did not disappoint, from top to the bottom entertained. The crowd was the biggest star of the event, loud from the first prelim to the main event—seeing their countrymen go a perfect 5-0.
Honorable Mentions: The crowd at The O2, Ilir Latifi, Gunnar Nelson
3rd Star – Patrick Holohan
One of only two underdogs to win on UFC Fight Night 46, Ireland’s own Patrick Holohan–a more than 2-to-1 underdog—opened up the evening’s festivities by submitting opponent Josh Sampo in the first round. The Irishman dropped Sampo with a punch but nearly got caught in a deep armbar by Sampo, before finishing him with the submission.
The charismatic flyweight got the crowd right into with his walkout and then a successful performance, and off he went to go drink some tea following a successful UFC debut. Remaining undefeated in his career 10-0-1.
2nd Star – Ian McCall
In what was Ian McCall’s best performance thus far in the UFC, “Uncle Creepy” was able to perfectly execute his gameplan against Brad Pickett over three full rounds. The speed advantage was clear early on as McCall was able to circle the cage and pick his shots against the former bantamweight. Adding in a couple of takedowns throughout the fight–while defending the takedowns of Pickett–McCall easily won a 3-round unanimous decision.
Many felt this flyweight bout would go a long way into determining the next contender for champion Demetrious Johnson. Despite Johnson’s next opponent already being announced, Ian McCall made his case against the champion.
“Demetrious, I’m gonna come get out. Remember last time, laid you out on the mat, so sensual,” McCall said post-fight, alluding to their first encounter in which McCall had Demetrious’ Johnson flat on the mat in back mount in the third round.
1st Star – Conor McGregor
Love him or hate him, the entire buildup leading up to the UFC’s return to Ireland Saturday was surrounding their native son, Conor McGregor. He did not disappoint in the main event of UFC Fight Night 46, calling his own shot and making good on his promise of a first round knockout.
McGregor put Diego Brandao away with a straight left and followed up on a defenseless Brandao with punches before the referee stepped in to put a halt to the bout.
“I said I was going to put him away in the first round, I put him away in the first round,” McGregor said post-fight.
Never short on confidence, Conor McGregor followed up with “There’s not a man alive that can come on this soil and beat me”.
While he asked for a title shot and football stadiums, unfortunately he’s far away from in that position, being currently the #12 ranked featherweight. But he does possess one of the more important attributes in the sport, that drawing power that can catapult him up the rankings quickly into title contention.