I’ll be honest, Nation; due to a number of extenuating circumstances including an increased workload at other websites and an ever-growing apathy for the sport of MMA aroused by the increasingly poor decision making of the UFC (not to mention, the dissolution of this website), last weekend’s Fight Night 76 was actually the first UFC card I was able to catch live in some 3 months. Being that it also happened to be the UFC’s first card following an unprecedented 3 week break, fan expectations were high in general to say the least.
But then, it lost its co-main event. Then, it lost its *main* event. What was once a solid night (afternoon) of fights quickly dissolved into one of the worst cards on paper in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Yet still, I retained hope. Weak cards on paper are just that, right? Some of the UFC’s worst looking cards ended up being some of the most exciting cards of them all, RIGHT? Fight Night 65, anyone? How about Fight Night 68, or Fight Night 55, or the injury-plagued UFC 178?
Sadly, UFC Dublin was not one of those nights.
While the last-minute main event between hometown favorite Paddy Holohan and Hawaiian actual betting favorite Louis Smolka made for a sublimely entertaining fight — with Holohan opening strong but eventually succumbing to a rear-naked choke in the second round — the majority of Fight Night 76 was thoroughly underwhelming, not to mention inconsequential in the broad scheme of things.
In the co-main event of the evening, TUF Smashes alum Norman Parke defeated Reza Madadi by unanimous decision, and in doing so, helped prove that “grudge match” fights fail to deliver in the cage more often than not. Oh, were you not aware that this was supposedly a grudge match, Potato Nation? That must be because you missed Friday’s weigh-ins, wherein Parke decided to mock his opponent’s criminal past by throwing a handbag at him. Even more confounding than Parke’s Carrot Top-inspired trash talk was the UFC’s decision to shamelessly promote the fact that it is employing a man who had just spent the past year and a half behind bars for aggravated robbery, which, given how quick the UFC brass were to formally reinstate Jon Jones, shouldn’t be all that big of a suprise, I guess.
In any case, Parke employed his typically lackadaisical style of throwing two punches and clinching on every exchange (I believe the experts call it “grinding”), which worked nicely for him when Madadi was himself not throwing two punches and clinching on every exchange. “Mad Dog” looked very much like a man who had spent two years away from the sport, to put it plainly, but let’s hope that he was paid enough for his efforts to avoid falling back on old habits.
The evening’s “Fight of the Night” was awarded to Darren Till vs. Nicolas Dalby, in a match that saw the former go from increasingly arrogant striker in the first two rounds to increasingly gassed punching bag by the third. A 10-8 scored by Dalby in the third round led judges to rightfully declare the fight a draw, keeping both fighters’ undefeated records in tact. Movin on…
Not to be outdone, the always entertaining Neil Seery did not disappoint in Fight Night Dublin’s main card opener, securing his first UFC finish with a surprising submission via arm-in guillotine over John Delos Reyes in the second round. Despite telling reporters that he would be hunting for the knockout in the days before the fight, Seery nearly finished Delos Reyes on a couple occasions with the guillotine, as the Guamanian repeatedly overcommitted on his takedowns when forced to trade with the Irishman on the feet. Though he was able to escape Seery’s guillotine early in the fight, a takedown late in the second left his neck exposed for the taking and Seery would not be denied.
The win earned “2 Tap” a $50,000 performance bonus and likely earned Delos Reyes his walking papers in light of recent events.
There’s not much else worth discussing from Fight Night Dublin, unfortunately, unless you happen to be one of the people who takes endless enjoyment in seeing Cathal Pendred get annihilated, which he was, compliments of Englishman Tom Breese. Let’s hope that November’s Fight Night 77 headlined by the completion of the wholly unnecessary Belfort-Hendo trilogy can deliver a bit more to chew on.
Full results for Fight Night 76 are below.
Louis Smolka def. Patrick Holohan via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:09 of round 2
Norman Parke def. Reza Madadi via unanimous decision
Darren Till and Nicolas Dalby ends in a majority draw
Neil Seery def. Jon Delos Reyes via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:12 of round 2
Stevie Ray def. Mickael Lebout via unanimous decision
Aisling Daly def. Ericka Almeida via unanimous decision
Krzysztof Jotko def. Scott Askham via split decision
Tom Breese def. Cathal Pendred via TKO (punches) at 4:37 of round 1
Darren Elkins def. Robert Whiteford via unanimous decision
Garreth McLellan def. Bubba Bush via TKO (punches) at 4:58 of round 3