Welcome to the UFC Dwyer, O'Reilly, Holohan, and Barberena

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Two new lightweight faces, another welterweight, and a new flyweight have all made their way to the UFC.

Another busy week in the UFC's ongoing quest to sign every fighter that has every fought ever. Their ranks are increasing at a scale that almost seems to defy logic and understanding... What I'm trying to say is, they're signing a lot of guys. First on the list is Bryan Barberena, who MMAJunkie reports, will become the latest replacement opponent for Joe Ellenberger after an eye issue forced new signing Johnny Case out of their bout in San Antonio. Next up, as reported by wuzhenet.com, is former TUF Nations welterweight Brendan O'Reilly, who will take on Zhang Lipeng in Macau at lightweight. Following O'Reilly, an actually Irish signing as the UFC brings a new flyweight into the mix. Severe MMA reports that the UFC has signed Paddy Holohan to fight Josh Sampo in Dublin. And finally, slated to debut sometime this summer is Canadian welterweight Matt Dwyer, who Top MMA News reports has apparently signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC. No debut date or opponent has been announced.

Who is Bryan Barberena?

The 25-year old King of the Cage lightweight champion makes his way to the UFC with a 9-2 pro record. He fights out of the MMA Lab, alongside notable talents Benson Henderson, Alex Caceres, and Jon Tuck, just to name a few. His record is a pretty decent mix of regional vets and young talents, highlighted by wins over Dane Sayers and Damion Hill. Seven of his wins come by TKO/KO and he's only been to decision twice (one of which he lost), so at the very least he should be exciting to watch.

What you should expect:

While Barberena has some serviceable kickboxing from the outside (when he finds his rhythm) he's really obviously at his best when he's in the clinch. His entries aren't always great and he can get hit a bit waiting for opportunities, but once he works his way inside he's very good at controlling his opponents for clinch knees. Given his fairly large frame, he uses his strength well to get takedowns and drag opponents down. Once on top he's fairly heavy. His ground and pound isn't super dynamic, but he works decently out of strong positions. He does have some tendency to get complacent when he feels like he's in a position of strength and can get swept, taken down, and or reversed because of it.

What this means for his debut:

It's hard to tell exactly how this fight shakes out. Not because Barberena isn't a fairly knowable quantity, but because Ellenberger is really tough to get a bead on. Not long ago he was diagnosed with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a bone marrow disease. It was diagnosed in the middle of his fighting career, which means there's some fairly lack luster footage of him out there, before he knew he was suffering from it. Now, he gets treatment and seems to be doing fine, but what that means for fighting at a really high level? It's tough to tell. Ellenberger is otherwise the more polished and technical wrestler, and Barberena is no kickboxing savant. In fact, his clinch heavy game probably plays right into Ellenberger. If he's able to use his size and strength to effectively counteract that he could win, but I'd say Ellenberger should probably be a slight favorite.

Who is Brendan O'Reilly?

The TUF Nations team Australia member comes to the UFC following his first round exit via RNC to Kajan Johnson. The 26-year old enters the UFC with an official record of 5-0 (1 NC), fighting out of Gamebred Submission Fighting alongside Ben Wall and rising prospect Claire Fryer. His record is pretty paper thin to this point, with no really decent opponents in his 6 pro fights. It'd be nice to say there was a big positive to take out of it but honestly, his opposition isn't great and his gym hasn't been terribly successful, even on the regional South Pacific circuit, hopefully O'Reilly is an exception.

What you should expect:

On his feet, O'Reilly has a tendency to be a chin up, arms out brawler. It's something that has gotten him in trouble in the past. He's been bailed out by his massive upper body strength and better than average wrestling (especially on the Aussie circuit where wrestling is notably poor). Apparently he was a state champion Greco-Roman wrestler in his younger days, which accounts for his strong bodylocks. His ground and pound is decent and he has some semblance of a submission offense on the ground as well, so it's really the standup portion of his arsenal that's missing.

What this means for his debut:

Zhang Lipeng is about as good an entry fight as O'Reilly can hope to get. Another grinding wrestle grappler with questionable standup. Zhang was on the recieving end of one of the worst decisions this year, when he beat out Wang Sai at the TUF China finale, for what I can only assume was the ability to absorb more blows with his face than his opponent. Of course, O'Reilly is pretty perfect for Zhang here as well, as he won't present a danger in Zhang's biggest weakness, but I might still give O'Reilly the edge as his Greco background is probably a little more applicable than Zhang's history as a track and field athlete.

Who is Paddy Holohan?

"The Hooligan" Patrick Holohan is part of the developing Irish supercamp, SBG Ireland, built around Cathal Pendred and Conor McGregor. at 26-years old, Holohan comes to the UFC with a 9-0-1 record built on the Irish regional circuit. Although flyweight is a pretty thin division, Holohan does have a couple nice wins on his record, over Damien Rooney and Steve McCombe. He also has 7 of his nine wins by submission, having only seen the judges score cards twice in his career. Holohan hasn't fought since 2012, missing the entirity of 2013 when he tried out for the TUF 18 house and lost his entry bout to Josh Hill. Apparently Holohan suffered a back injury in the bout and has been unable to compete since.

What you should expect:

I'd by lying if I said that Holohan's striking looks natural. He does appear to have a developing arsenal of kicks and punches, but he's anything but efficient in his movement and often looks like he's open to getting hit hard in exchanges. He also doesn't appear to have much defensive wrestling, but that could come from being massively undersized as a bantamweight. At flyweight he may be able to get more done, but considering the depth of talent there, and especially of grappling talent, that seems unlikely. Eventually, he's mostly a grappler. He has a tricky guard game, with the ability to throw up triangles with quickness and regularity and the kind of prolonged scrambling ability to keep things interesting against opponents willing to engage in a hard roll on the mats.

What this means for his debut:

Unless his wrestling has gotten much better, Holohan has a major problem on his hands with Josh Sampo. Sampo is not just a great wrestler and grappler, but a defensively rock solid striker as well. He may not have quite the pure athletic gifts to get past the very best, but he'll wreak havoc on everyone outside the top ten. Holohan was undersized as a bantamweight and looks like he might even be undersized as a flyweight and just doesn't have a whole lot of options if he's not facing an opponent willing to openly engage him in a grappling battle. Given Sampo's ability, I'm not even sure he'd win that.

Who is Matt Dwyer?

The Battlefield Fight League Welterweight champ, Canadian Matt Dwyer enters the UFC with a 7-1 record fighting exclusively for BFL. At 24-years of age he as already faced some notable (if not necessarily highly regarded) opposition, with recent wins over Damarques Johnson and Shonie Carter. In fact, apart from a pair of wins over the 1-7 Levi Alford and a KO loss to Bellator's Marcus Aurelio (not that Marcus Aurelio), his record and his competition have been pretty decent. Every one of his wins have come by way of KO/TKO, and considering his huge size for the division (he's listed at 6' 4") Dwyer may be a fighter to watch out for. He trains out of Toshido MMA, alongside Sarah Moras.

What you should expect:

Dwyer may be incredibly tall and long for his division, but, like so many lanky fighters, he doesn't really use his reach effectively. He's very, very hittable from the outside, and is really at his most comfortable brawling in tight and looking for the body lock. He tends to overreach his footwork at range which leaves his head overly exposed and takes a lot of the steam off his strikes. Given that his kicking game is notably lackluster, Dwyer has some major holes for a pretty decent record. The raw physical tools are there. He does have a really decent clinch muay thai game when he can get there, which, at his height will be something for opponents to watch for. Otherwise, he's not slow, and he's obviously got natural power, but he needs a lot more seasoning to put it all together.

To get us better acquainted, here's Barberena's bout against Damien Hill (fight starts at about 2:12:00):

And here's O'Reilly's bout against Sam Gascoigne:

And Holohan's 2012 fight against Damien Rooney:

And finally, Dwyer's bout against Damarques Johnson:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Join Bloody Elbow

You must be a member of Bloody Elbow to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bloody Elbow. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5349_tracker