Conor McGregor wowed Irish audiences with his destruction of Diego Brandao at UFC Fight Night 46. The Irish crowd was in love not only with McGregor, but with the sport itself. Their enthusiasm was infectious, bringing the festivities up from an 8/10 to a 10/10.
The action started off with a bang–especially on the prelims which saw four out of six fights finished in dramatic fashion. Of note, The Wiki-less legend Ilir Latifi brutalized Chris Dempsey via TKO in the first round. He blasted Dempsey’s leg with kicks, and then just bum rushed him with punches. We’d describe it in more technical terms but that’s pretty much exactly how the fight looked.
The main card started off just as strong as the prelims. Norman Parke steamrolled through Naoyuki Kotani. Parke used him as a punching bag throughout the entire first round, landing punches, kicks, knees, and elbows and nearly finishing him as well. In the second, Parke picked up where he left off and finished Kotani with a barrage of elbows.
Brad Pickett and Ian McCall met next. McCall was too quick for Pickett, who planted his feet and endlessly missed right hands. McCall’s footwork was too fluid, his rhythm was too atypical, his pace was too fast and his striking was too fast and precise for Pickett to mount any meaningful offense. McCall pulled away with this one easily, winning a unanimous decision.
After the fight, McCall called out Demetrious Johnson with a speech so creepy it hearkened back to Tank Abbott’s promo where he said looking at Paul Varelans getting beat up made him sexually aroused. But what else would you expect from a fighter nicknamed “Uncle Creepy?”
The co-main event of the night featured Gunnar Nelson vs. Zak Cummings. This fight was another in a long line of great, entertaining fights this card. The first round was evenly contested. Nelson landed the better strikes in the first half, but Cummings scored with pressure in the clinch and some dirty boxing in the latter half. In the second, Nelson ultimately took charge. He dragged Cummings to the mat and sunk in a rear naked choke, tapping out the exhausted Cummings right as the round was about to end.
The crowd was MENTAL for the night’s main event: Conor McGregor vs. Diego Brandao. McGregor made short work of his Brazilian foe in what was a pretty short bout. Brandao managed to land a head kick early on, but McGregor was unfazed. McGregor even managed to beat Brandao in the grappling too, reversing a takedown and landing on top. Once on top, McGregor warded off Brandao’s submission attempts with relative ease. Eventually, the fight returned to the feet. McGregor landed a body shot that took the life out of Brandao. As Brandao hobbled away, McGregor landed a brutal straight left that collapsed Brandao to the mat. The referee stopped the fight after a few follow-up punches.
McGregor riled up the crowd with his post-fight speech, proving that he has charisma enough to be a star.
Who’s next for him? Tough to tell. If the UFC is smart, they’ll book him against Cole Miller, who he was supposed to fight tonight anyway. Some people on Twitter speculated that Frankie Edgar would face McGregor next, but that could be disastrous. The UFC can afford to take their time with McGregor due to his age (26). Throwing him into the lion’s den this early could have dire consequences.
Here are the card’s complete results:
Conor McGregor def. Diego Brandao via TKO (punches), round 1, 4:05
Gunnar Nelson def. Zak Cummings via submission (rear naked choke), round 2, 4:48
Ian McCall def. Brad Pickett via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Norman Parke def. Naoyuki Kotani via TKO (punches and elbows), round 2, 3:41
Ilir Latifi def. Chris Dempsey via TKO (punches), round 1, 2:07
Neil Seery def. Phil Harris decision (unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Cathal Pendred def. Mike King technical via Submission (rear-naked choke), round 2, 3:33
Trevor Smith def. Tor Troeng via decision (unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nikita Krylov def. Cody Donovan via TKO (punches) round 1, 4:57
Patrick Holohan def. Josh Sampo vis submission (rear-naked choke), round 1, 3:06.