Ahead of 'Duffy v Poirier' UFC Dublin card starting to take shape
With just ten weeks to the UFC’s return to the 3Arena the ‘UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs Duffy’ card is starting to fill out nicely.
As expected there are a host of Irish names pencilled in to compete. After the announcement earlier in the week we know Conor McGregor won’t be joining his countrymen as he will fight Jose Aldo in Las Vegas on December 12th.
There’s no show like a Joe show
Headlining the event will be Donegal’s ‘Irish’ Joe Duffy. He will face his stiffest challenge yet in Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, who has recently moved up from the featherweight division to become a top 15 ranked UFC lightweight.
Duffy returned from a stint in pro boxing to sign with the UFC in March of this year. He made a spectacular debut at UFC 185 where he enjoyed a round one TKO win over Jake Lindsay. Duffy furthered his reputation as ‘one to watch’ by winning his second UFC bout in July, this time defeating Brazilian lightweight Ivan Jorge with a slick submission in the first round. In addition to proving Duffy is a well-rounded mixed martial artist, the triangle choke/armbar finish secured the Irishman a $50,000 ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.
UFC president Dana White is particularly keen on Duffy, believing he will challenge for UFC gold at some point in the future.
Poirier has bounced back since losing to ‘The Notorious’ last September with two straight wins inside the Octagon. It will be interesting to see what reception the American Top Team fighter gets from the Irish fans after his beef with McGregor. Poirier is a well-rounded fighter and a superb match-up for Duffy.
A win for the Irishman will undoubtedly fast track him towards the vaunted Top 15 in the lightweight division. A win for Poirier will nudge him closer to a title shot.
So far, three other Irish fighters have been named on October 24th card.
SBGi’s Cathal Pendred will face Englishman Tom Breese
Unbeaten in his professional MMA career, Breese – who fights out of Birmingham, England – defeated Luiz Dutra with a spectacular TKO finish in his UFC debut, back in May. Breese spends some time training with Duffy in Canada at the Tristar Gym.
Pendred, meanwhile began his UFC career with an incredible ‘come from behind’ victory over Mike King at UFC Dublin in July 2014. Since then he has won a further three fights with mixed reaction. In his last outing ‘The Punisher’ dropped a decision loss to John Howard at UFC 189, the same night McGregor picked up the interim featherweight title.
Having tasted the adulation of a Dublin crowd last year, Pendred will no doubt be looking to replicate that success this time around and get his UFC career back on track.
Relive all the best bits from UFC Dublin here:
Parke looking to tame the Mad-dog
Also featuring on the fight card will be Northern Ireland’s “Stormin” Norman Parke, who meets Sweden’s Reza “Mad Dog” Madadi.
A few years back Parke was ‘the guy’ in Irish MMA expected to make the big time. His UFC career got off to a great start getting out to four wins and a draw in his first 18 months with the company.
The Bushmills, Co Antrim native will bounce back following two hard fought losses this year at the hands of Brazilian lightweights Gleison Tibau and Francisco Trinaldo.
Madadi makes his highly anticipated return to UFC following an absence of more than two years. This break included some jail time for a conviction on burglary charges, which forced the UFC to release Madadi from the promotion.
The Hooligan returns
The most recent addition to the card has been Conor McGregor and Cathal Pendred's team-mate and the proudest Tallaght man alive, Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan.
Holohan talks Tallaght and going from TUF contestant to coach.
Paddy is 3-1 in UFC fights since debuting in Dublin last July.
In his post-fight interview after beating Vaughan Lee at UFC Glasgow on the 18th July, Holohan called out Louis Smolka to try and avenge the defeat of fellow Irish MMA fighter Neil Seery. Seery lost a three round decision to Smolka at UFC 189.
‘When one goes to war, we all go to war’
Some notable Irish absentees from the card are Aisling Daly, Neil Seery and Paul Redmond.
Daly was for the longest time Ireland’s top ranked MMA fighter in the world. At her peak she was ranked number three in the ladies flyweight division and held the NAAFS world title at that weight.
Having entered the UFC as a title hopeful a loss in her last fight has taken her to 1-1 and down to #14 in the UFC’s straw-weight division. After eight years of competing and still only 27, ‘Ais the Bash’ will be around for a long time yet but a fight in front of a passionate home crowd might be a shot in the arm required to propel her back towards title contention.
Neil ‘TwoTap’ Seery has become a victim of his own punching power. In each of his UFC four UFC fights his opponents have looked to take the fight to the floor once they’ve been cracked on the jaw by one of Finglas’ finest. His UFC record is currently and even 2-2 but what won’t be lost on the UFC is how popular ‘2Tap’ is with the Irish fans.
Without McGregor on the next UFC Dublin card Seery could play a huge role in whipping up the frenzied Irish fans in the 3Arena. His go forward fighting style and down to earth back story makes him a huge fan favourite. The fact the Neil is generally back in work to provide for his family days after his UFC adventures has carved a special place for him in the hearts of the Irish MMA fans.
Defying the 36 years he’ll be at the end of Augsut, Seery looks set to fight with the world’s largest MMA promotion for another few years. It would be a huge hole on the Dublin card if he weren’t there in October.
Of all the ‘Fighting Irish’ in the UFC, Paul ‘Redser’ Redmond has had the toughest ride.
His debut was a short notice fight stepping in for the injured Alan Omer. Though he dropped a decision against rising star Mirsad Bektic, he gained respect from all for stepping up with only two weeks to prepare.
His second outing was against the hard hitting Robert Whiteford. ‘Redser’ was looking good only to get caught and TKO’d by the hometown fighter.
While two losses in succession can sometimes be enough to get your marching papers from the UFC, this would be desperately unfair on the Donaghmede man.
For those familiar with his career will know his Cage Warriors win streak that included five 2nd round stoppages was the reason Paul was signed by the UFC. Like his Team Ryano team-mate Seery, Redmond has a go forward style and is an exciting fighter to watch. From his days on the local circuit and the Dublin Cage Warriors’ events, Paul boasts a healthy following and would receive a raucous reception if he got the chance in the 3Arena on the 24th of October.
Having stepped in to take a short notice fight in his debut and ten take on a hometown hero in his last fight, maybe it's time ‘Redser’ got a solid from his employers. He is a much better fighter than we’ve seen so far in his UFC career. He just needs another chance to get the job done.
Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: POIRIER vs. DUFFY will go on sale to UFC FIGHT CLUB® members at 10:00 a.m. IST on Wednesday, September 2, with Sun+ subscribers also getting priority access from 12:00 p.m. IST on Wednesday.
Tickets will become available to UFC Newsletter subscribers on Friday, September 4 at 10:00 a.m. IST with general sale taking place from 12:00 p.m. IST.