The UFC storms Ireland for UFC Fight Night: Dublin today, a ten-fight ensemble that airs on UFC Fight Pass with a noon-thirty ET start time. Surging European prospects carry the top-end of the lineup as featherweight Conor McGregor meets Diego Brandao in the headliner and Gunnar Nelson draws improving welterweight Zak Cummings in the co-main.
Before the four-fight main card takes off at 3:00 p.m. ET, a six-piece preliminary card will ease us into today's combat itinerary at 12:30 p.m. ET. Keg-shaped bruiser Ilir Latifi faces Chris Dempsey in the feature bout while flyweights Neil Seery and Phil Harris rematch in the penultimate scrap.
This here chunk o' internet space will cover all the haps for the preliminary card, which is listed in its entirety below.
UFC Fight Night Dublin Preliminary Card
R1: Latifi probes with right hands, keeping a low level to prevent any takedown attempts. It's all jabs and crosses until Latifi cracks off a pair of low kicks a minute in. Make that a trio, with Dempsey limping a little after impact. Dempsey manages to get the standing front headlock for a moment but Latifi shoves him away. Dempsey loses his footing on the next Latifi low kick and then digests a right-handed meatball to the jaw on his way down, and the ref jumps in.
Ilir Latifi defeats Chris Dempsey by TKO (punches) at 2:07 of Round 1
R1: Harris heaves an overhand but can't transition into a takedown. He tangles with Seery in the clinch, pushing his back on the fence. Seery circles, throws a knee and peels away. Harris looks to repeat but Seery isn't having it. Seery walks Harris down with tight combos and then drops him with a shot. Harries goes down but Seery wisely backs up to let him stand.
Harris' next shot smacks of desperation and is easily stuffed as Seery stalks Harris into a corner again. Nice counter left from Harris to get on the board. Right-left combo from Seery and Harris is again unable to time a counter takedown. Seery lets his hands go again and lands on top when Harris stumbles during his escape, again letting him right back up. The sequence of Seery strikes and telegraphed takedowns from Harris repeats with Seery shrugging each one off. Inside low kick from Harris but Seery's volume is drowning him. 10-8 for a glaring lack of any effective offense from Harris.
R2: Harris backpedals while avoiding Seery's onslaught and pulls guard on another failed takedown attempt. Seery kicks the legs and then backs off to continue his dominance on the feet. Double right hooks from Seery and he over-commits on the second, allowing a Harris takedown. Harris pinches Seery's legs together to prevent the escape but Seery squirts loose after Harris readjusts his grip.
Seery teeing off with meatball right hands in triplicate. Right hand to takedown routine is no good for Harris again, and he eats a stiff jab. Seery changing stances fluidly. Running ankle-pick takedown for Seery, who's mixing it up beautifully. Kicks to the legs to the prone Harris before Seery lets him up. Seery takes him back down with a single. 10-8 Seery, who's doing whatever he wants with nary a concern for anything from Harris.
R3: An accidental low blow forces a brief timeout early. Harris committing more to different strikes instead of the predictable right hand to set up the takedown. Straight left lands for Seery. Harris telegraphs a takedown that Seery counters before dinging Harris with a straight shot. Double jab grazes for Harris.
Hook-cross combo for Seery, who closes with a low kick. Harris scores with a left hook, then a jab. Seery answers with a few heaters. Desperation takedown from Harris, who falls on his back again and eats a few leg kicks before standing. Seery's straight left splits Harris' defense and the shot wobbles him, allowing Seery to finish the round on top. 10-9 Seery for a 30-25 his way on my card.
- Neil Seery defeats Phil Harris by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
R1: King takes a charging Pendred down immediately. Pendred gets up, mistimes a low kick and goes back down. Pendred is back up and looking to bully King in the clinch -- he gets the rear waist lock and settles for a trip takedown when he can't get the belly-to-back suplex. King scrambles free and throws a side kick, then steers Pendred back with punches. King unlatches a heavy right that drops Pendred, then pounces with more punches as Pendred looks to recover.
King decides to jump into Pendred's guard and it proves wise as he takes back control and looks for the rear-naked choke. Pendred rolls onto his stomach and covers up amidst a hail of low-power punches. King riskily transitions to the kimura and it allows Pendred to sneak out the back door and reset on the feet. Though he manages to survive, Pendred looks sluggish after the defensive sequence. 10-8 King.
R2: Both fighters catch their breath a little to start the second frame. Pendred scores first with a lead uppercut. Straight left from King, then an outside low kick. Front kick lands for King but Pendred shoots on it and gets the takedown from the rear waist lock. King scrambles free and looks for a counter single leg but Pendred labors his way back to the standing position.
Left high kick and punch scores for King. Pendred slogs forward and locks horns with King, again slipping under to the rear waist lock and taking King down with back control. Pendred gets his forearm under the chin and wrenches a Gable-grip choke, and King goes out.
- Cathal Pendred defeats Mike King by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:33 of Round 2
R1: Outside low kick for Smith, then a double leg attempt with no set up that Troeng stuffs easily. Troeng puts Smith on the fence with double underhooks and lands a knee and short lefts. Smith pummels under and gets the 50/50 hold to stabilize and slips out with a few punches. Troeng reconnects and puts him back on the cage with Smith again giving up double underhooks.
They separate halfway through the round and Smith targets another low kick. The another. Smith fires an overhand right while seeking out a single but is greeted by a volley of short lefts after Troeng fends it off. Smith goes for a double leg, then tries to pick the ankle when Troeng defends. Troeng fights his way out of Smith's embrace and they trade a few before the bell sounds. 10-10 for equal offense with neither clearly distinguishing themselves.
R2: Smith opens with a right hand. Troeng peels off a flurry of punches and follows behind them to scoop up a double leg. Troeng immediately walks his hips over Smith's before he can compose his guard and passes to full mount, then takes the back. Smith sweeps and rolls into side mount, chipping away with left hands to the head. Troeng puts one foot on Smith's hip and Smith passes to half guard after a failed sweep attempt.
Troeng looks to shrimp out and Smith patters with more left hands, and is cautioned by the ref for illegal blows. Troeng butt scoots to the fence and uses it to stand, and circles Smith onto the cage with double underhooks again. Troeng shoots after they separate but penetrates too far with his head, and Smith drops back for a guillotine. He works on it for almost a half-minute until the bell sounds. 10-9 Smith.
R3: Smith starts out with another immediate low kick. Troeng tries to change levels after they clinch but Smith angles his way out of danger and seeks out a counter takedown -- he gets too much head penetration and Troeng wheels a leg over to take his back, but Smith reverses into top position almost instantly again. High half guard for Smith, looking for another mount pass.
Troeng tries to roll out but Smith threatens to take his back; Troeng turtles but explodes to his feet when Smith starts throwing punches. Smith takes him right back down, basing down to limit Troeng's movement while throwing short forearms. Gable-grip side headlock from Smith to keep Troeng in place until time expires. 10-9 Smith for a 30-28 score his way on my card.
- Trevor Smith defeats Tor Troeng by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
R1: Both take a low stance and fire jabs. Krylov tacks on a left hook that gets through, then wades forward with a pair of right uppercuts that back Donovan on to the fence. Donovan circles off and looks for a sloppy throw with the body lock and Krylov reverses it and lands on top, but finds himself locked in a tight armbar. Donovan goes belly down and wrenches the straight lock but Krylov grits his way out of it. They clinch and Krylov bombs knees from the double necktie while Donovan answers with right uppercuts.
Donovan changes levels after they separate and gets deep on a double leg. Krylov looks for the ankle pick sweep when Donovan stands, forcing him to back off. Back on the feet, Krylov walks Donovan down with punches but lands a front kick to the cup. After a brief pause for the low blow, Krylov goes back to work with big punches but Donovan counter clinches to stifle the onslaught and then floors Krylov with a beefy right hand. Donovan lands in half guard and quickly slips his leg out for full mount, then takes back control when Krylov tries to scramble free. Krylov spins out of it and takes Donovan's back, hammering away with a stream of punches, then sinking both hooks in and ending the fight with a series of unanswered rights to the head.
- Nikita Krylov defeats Cody Donovan by TKO (punches) at 4:57 of Round 1
R1: They take the center and trade leg kicks, but Holohan stays on the trigger for a follow-up combo. Holohan establishes himself as the aggressor with unending, pressure flurries consisting of punches and kicks, though he's being methodical about it. He catches Sampo with a step-in uppercut and it stuns him, and he falls on to his back while Holohan jumps into his guard with punches.
Though it's not quick and he's close to being finished, Sampo eventually recovers and controls posture in full guard. Sampo wheels for an armbar that looks deep but Holohan peels himself loose and takes Sampo's back in the resulting struggle. "The Hooligan" wastes no time in lacing up a rear-naked choke and forces the tapout shortly after. Crazy fight, big upset, stellar debut.
- Patrick Holohan defeats Josh Sampo by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:06 of Round 1