SBG Ireland Fighters At UFC Dublin This Weekend
Holohan, Daly & Pendred Fight Oct 24th
Next week sees the return of the UFC to Ireland, with UFC Fight Night Dublin taking place at the 3Arena on October 24th. The event is the first in the country since July of 2014, and, as is customary for any UFC card in Ireland, it will again be packed with Straight Blast Gym Ireland’s top talent. Paddy Holohan, Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly will all step into the Octagon on home soil and hope to recreate scenes reminiscent of 2014; a night that saw four SBG Ireland’s fighters (including Pendred and Holohan) pick up emphatic stoppage victories.
Paddy Holohan is scheduled to fight Louis Smolka in the opening bout of the main card. He looks to take his UFC record to 4-1 after his recent success in dominating Vaughn Lee at UFC Fight Night Glasgow in July. Holohan is confident that he can extend on that impressive display, seeing a lot of holes in Smolka’s game that he will seek to exploit:
“I didn’t see gaps, I saw craters – massive crevasses… If he grappled with me the same way he grappled with Neil, he’s dead. It’s as simple as that. That’s 100 percent.
“When you look at our games, I just think I’m a better version of him. I think in terms of striking, I hit harder than him.”
Aisling Daly, who unlike Holohan and Pendred wasn’t on the previous UFC Dublin card, fights Ericka Almeida, and is eager to experience the thrill of fighting in front of a home crowd for the first time in the UFC. Being stuck in the Ultimate Fighter house, Daly had to hear second hand about the atmosphere her teammates enjoyed:
“I’ve been lucky enough to get the feedback from when my teammates were on the previous Dublin card, and the thing I hear them talk about is that the crowd was so loud that it felt like somebody put a speaker on your chest and you can feel the vibrations go through your whole body… so I’m very fortunate to know what’s coming for me, and I’m just super excited.”
It is a big fight for Daly, who seeks to get back to winning ways after losing last time out against Randa Markos, but she is confident that a victory is likely, after a year of adjusting to the pressures and obligations since her time on TUF:
“I know my skill set is there. I know the mental side of things have improved vastly for me over the last six months to a year, and I’m a different person than I was when I came out of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ house. I know I say it a lot, but I do feel like I did leave a lot of residual mental effects that I really needed to get by before I could start to perform in fights”
With that now in place, Daly feels it is only a matter of time before she can take the strawweight belt:
“I genuinely feel now my skill set has taken a massive jump, my mental strength has taken a massive jump, and it’s just a case of me getting the opponents I want or that the UFC deems adequate to put me into title contention. I don’t think there’s anything in the division stopping me from achieving that belt.”
Like Daly, Cathal Pendred is also looking to rectify a loss, having seen his goal of five wins in his first UFC year fail at the final hurdle. Pendred lost to John Howard in July by decision, but win or lose, Pendred remains frustrated in the fact that he hasn’t shown his best in the Octagon:
“There’s only been one loss out of five but it’s not all about that. I want to perform, I want to turn heads and send a message out to the other fighters in the welterweight division that I mean business.”
In Dublin he takes on Tom Breese, who, with a professional record of 8-0, and a first round TKO UFC debut win, is an exciting prospect. An emphatic stoppage victory in front of his hometown crowd will go a long way to silencing critics who aren’t familiar with Pendred’s best form:
“He is an unbeaten guy who’s on the rise, but I’m looking forward to putting a stop to him. I think he’s the perfect opponent for me. The fact that he’s unbeaten and being the first person to beat him will be added shine on to the victory. There’s a bit of hype behind him and he’ll be a tough challenge, but I’m excited about that. This fight will put me back to where I want to be.”
UFC Fight Night Dublin is little more than a week away! Be sure to watch and support SBG Ireland’s fighters however you can next Saturday! Good luck to Paddy, Aisling, Cathal and the whole SBG Ireland team!