Saturday 3 December 2016

UFC Dublin main card: Paddy Holohan forced to tap out of main event, wins for Parke and Seery

Tom Rooney

Published 24/10/2015 | 21:43

Paddy Holohan following his defeat to Louis Smolka.
Paddy Holohan following his defeat to Louis Smolka.
Neil Seery celebrates victory over Jon Delos Reyes. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Nicolas Dalby, right, and Darren Till after their fight ended in a draw. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

There was disappointment for Paddy Holohan in the main event at UFC Fight Night 76 after he was forced to tap out against Louis Smolka, while Norman Parke and Neil Seery picked up victories at the 3Arena.

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Holohan served up some of the best action you could ask for, but tapped out to Smolka’s rear naked choke.

Smolka was patient, well-practiced and equal to the wave of limbs that came his way in the early goings. Holohan was aggressive and fierce, though slightly unpolished. He did enough to win the first round.

In the second, Smolka’s superior strength began to tell, as it had against Neil Seery in Las Vegas at UFC 189.

He has obviously refined his striking in the interim, but it was prowess on the mat that once more came to the fore.

He swivelled his way into mounting Holohan, and proceeded to pepper him from above with a barrage of well-placed punches off either hand.

Holohan struggled admirably, but when the moment presented, Smolka struck. He took the Dubliner’s back and sunk in a vice-like rear-naked choke. The SBG man eventually tapped before briefly losing consciousness.

He can take pride from the fact that he was involved in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate, with Smolka now seeing off both Holohan and Seery and won’t look out of place in the UFC’s flyweight top ten.

Seery secured victory at UFC Fight Night 76 via guillotine choke while Norman Parke defeated Sweden’s Reza Madadi via unanimous decision in the co-main event of the night.

Norman Parke defeated Sweden’s Reza Madadi via unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 76 in the 3Arena.

Norman Parke, right, in action against Reza Madadi. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Norman Parke, right, in action against Reza Madadi. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

The win snapped a two-fight losing skid for Parke who had been on the unlucky end of some questionable judging is his most recent outings.

Elevated to the penultimate bout after Joe Duffy’s omission, Parke had even offered to step in and face Dustin Poirier earlier this week, but the American wasn’t biting.

The Mohawk-sporting Reza Madadi had not fought in the UFC since April 2013 - incidentally the same night Conor McGregor debuted – as he was serving a prison sentence for burglary.

Parke had taunted him at the weigh-ins by tossing a pink handbag his way - an allusion to his time behind bars. Madadi had previously made light of the fact that Stormin’ Norman’s job could be in peril.

The pre-fight banter had not been exceptional, though Parke cut an acutely focused figure; three consecutive losses in the UFC tends to see employees relieved of their position.

Identical to last year, Antrim’s Parke was bestowed with a rousing welcome by the partisan crowd.

If the opening round fare was anything to go by, this hardly seemed a contest between men who held a visceral animosity towards one another. The action was fleeting and lacked vim or intent.

Parke became more urgent in the second and drove a number of powerful kicks into Madadi’s torso. His control of distance and the octagon were superior to the Swede’s, but he failed to capitalize accordingly.

Just as collective slumber threatened to set in Parke scored a takedown.

However he was unable to keep Madadi grounded, who is a decorated wrestler in his homeland. It mattered not, though, and Parke claimed the win.

****

Norman Parke defeated Sweden’s Reza Madadi via unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 76 in the 3Arena.

Nicolas Dalby, right, and Darren Till after their fight ended in a draw. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Nicolas Dalby, right, and Darren Till after their fight ended in a draw. UFC Fight Night. 3Arena, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

The win snapped a two-fight losing skid for Parke who had been on the unlucky end of some questionable judging is his most recent outings.

Elevated to the penultimate bout after Joe Duffy’s omission, Parke had even offered to step in and face Dustin Poirier earlier this week, but the American wasn’t biting.

The Mohawk-sporting Reza Madadi had not fought in the UFC since April 2013 - incidentally the same night Conor McGregor debuted – as he was serving a prison sentence for burglary.

Parke had taunted him at the weigh-ins by tossing a pink handbag his way - an allusion to his time behind bars. Madadi had previously made light of the fact that Stormin’ Norman’s job could be in peril.

The pre-fight banter had not been exceptional, though Parke cut an acutely focused figure; three consecutive losses in the UFC tends to see employees relieved of their position.

Identical to last year, Antrim’s Parke was bestowed with a rousing welcome by the partisan crowd.

If the opening round fare was anything to go by, this hardly seemed a contest between men who held a visceral animosity towards one another. The action was fleeting and lacked vim or intent.

Parke became more urgent in the second and drove a number of powerful kicks into Madadi’s torso. His control of distance and the octagon were superior to the Swede’s, but he failed to capitalize accordingly.

Just as collective slumber threatened to set in Parke scored a takedown.

However he was unable to keep Madadi grounded, who is a decorated wrestler in his homeland. It mattered not, though, and Parke claimed the win.

****

Darren Till and Nicolas Dalby maintained their undefeated records as they fought to a rather deflating and entirely rare majority draw in a taut welterweight contest.

From the outset, even before the loss of the top two bouts, this was seen as potential Fight of the Night candidate.

Both men enjoy flawless CVs and were renowned for their Muay Thai offence, so a dust-up seemed in the offing. Yet, somehow, it never materialised.

Hailing from Copenhagen, Dalby vacated his Cage Warriors welterweight title to join the UFC.

The 30-year-old had amassed a 14-0 record, while Till, who hails from Liverpool but fights out of Brazil, is seven years his junior and was yet to taste defeat in his 13 professional bouts to date.

The first round was largely tentative, though sporadically brutal. Till closed out the frame by driving hammer-fists and elbows into Dalby’s midriff.

The second period was not radically different; punishment was given and received, but not of the fight-ending variety.

Going into the third, it would not have been speculative to say Till was ahead on the judge’s scorecards.

The dynamic however drastically changed when Dalby laded ferocious head-kick before following up with a series of uppercuts.

The flurry certainly took the wind out Till’s sails and the Dane continued to apply pressure until the final buzzer sounded, with the underwhelming verdict a draw.

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