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UFC Dublin: Holohan vs. Smolka analysis - Winners and losers

Michael Hutchinson looks at which fighters brought excitement to the Irish crowd and which fighters under-performed at UFC Dublin.

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The UFC took an injury ravaged card to Dublin, Ireland hoping for an event that, although light in talent, would be heavy on excitement. When it comes to excitement, several fighters stepped up to the plate to put on exciting performances, while other failed. Here are the winners and losers for UFC Dublin.

Winners

Louis Smolka was one of two fighters on the card who had a stand out performance. After a crazy back and forth first round, Smolka was able to reel himself in and take control of the fight. What was most impressive about the victory wasn't the fact that he did it in hostile territory against a Irishman, but he also set up his submission victory with his strikes. This shows that Smolka is both dangerous with his striking and on the ground. In a division as thin as Flyweight, an impressive win like this on a big stage will do a lot to propel him up the rankings.

Tom Breese had the other stand out performance of the night. The Tri-Star fighter was up against a fighter with a bad reputation for grinding out boring victories. Right away Breese established his striking, popping Pendred in the face with stiff punches. Breese then ended the fight with a beautiful combination that ended with left cross and Pendred falling to the mat. Being a fighter from a well known and respected camp and finishing a boring fighter in style is a great way to get noticed in the UFC.

Nicolas Dalby and Darren Till both put on a great performance in their fight. Till didn't dominate the first two round, but was confident enough with his striking to throw flashy kicks and land creative strikes. Dalby changed the fight in the third by catching Till with several hard punches and kicks, almost finishing the fight. Both fighters agreed with the judges decision of a draw as it was the perfect scenario for one. The fight still served its purpose as it gave us a look at two dangerous up and comers in the Welterweight division.

Neil Seery was the only Irish fighter on the card to get a finish, submitting Jon Delos Reyes late in the 2nd round.  It was another fight in which both fighters were able to show off their skills on both the feet and the ground. Seery's confident in his striking showed late in the first round when he began to land quality counters and low kicks. He also showed off his grappling and submission skills by reversing positions on Delos Reyes and by getting the submission victory.

Other notable winners: Aisling Daly, Norman Parke, Garreth McLellan and the Irish crowd.

Losers

Cathal Pendred had the worst performance out of everyone on the night. His grinding style proved to be ineffective against Breese who slowly picked Pendred apart on the feet. It was the worst performance for an Irish fighter on the night by a long shot as he only landed 8 strikes in the fight while failing to take the fight to the ground. For Pendred, back to back loses and a boring style could lead to getting handed the pink slip soon. Fortunately for Pendred, the UFC will likely keep him around for their next trip to Ireland.

Patrick Holohan held his own in the first round against Smolka, going toe to toe in scrambles and submission attempts. Holohan set a pace that he couldn't keep up with though as Smolka pressured and cracked him. For Holohan, it was an opportunity to both win on the biggest stage of his MMA career, as well work his way up the flyweight division. There was so much to gain for Holohan, but unfortunately the Irishman wasn't able to pull through.

Ericka Almeida enters the losers column for her unimpressive fight with Aisling Daly. Both women showed that they are still far away in terms of skill from competing with the best of the division. For Daly, the win was more of an experience than a career advancement. Daly got to win in front of a rowdy Irish crowd that was pulling for her from the start to the finish. For Almeida, the performance put her a couple of fights away from entering the Top 15 rankings, which is a far ways away for such a thin division.

Other notable losers: Bubba Bush, Jon Delos Reyes and Rob Whiteford.