Later in the round King dropped Cathal with a stiff punch and followed him to the mat landing some heavy ground and pound. Things looked bleak for Cathal when King continued the assault in mount and then taking his back, sunk in a rear naked choke that might have seen many other fighters tapout.
Then the energy in The O2 started to kick in. The worse the situation got for Cathal the louder the crowd cheered. Every effort Cathal made to stay in the fight was greeted as if he was finishing his opponent not trying to survive. The crowd’s support probably made a difference and though he lost the round he was still in the fight.
Cathal came out in the second looking for takedowns of his own. The second takedown attempt landed and he quickly moved to take the back of King and sink in a rear naked choke which put King out cold. A classic come from behind victory that ripped the roof clean off The O2.
"Mike came out really strong but even when things aren't going my way, I can never count myself out. The crowd was amazing; it kept feeding my energy. I've shown that I'm an exciting fighter and that you can never count me out. I couldn't believe how excited Dana was about the fight. This is the fairy tale start to my UFC career."
Holohan lost no class after two years out
For a guy coming back from a back injury, who hadn’t fought in 2 years and was making his debut in front of the biggest crowd of his career, Paddy ‘The Hooligan’ Holohan was ice cool when he stepped out into The O2 on Saturday night. He set the tone at the weigh in a day previous with a calm demeanour and looked like he owned the arena when he made his walk to the Octagon a day later.
Everybody talked about Paddy’s slick submission game as his key to victory but it was his powerful striking that dropped his opponent, Josh Sampo in the first minute. This set up the beginning of the end.
It wasn’t plain sailing though as Sampo managed to counter attack with an armbar. Paddy defended superbly and took the back of Sampo in the scramble. From here he weaved his arms around the neck of a prone Sampo coaxing the tapout as the first round drew to a close.
A packed O2 went crazy for ‘The Hooligan’ and I’d imagine the UFC will be pretty happy with their new employee.
“That was just amazing. It felt like home in there. When I go out there the hooligan just consumes my body. I just put my head down and swing at people. I’m pretty buzzing right now. I just want to thank everyone who has stood by me and supported me. I’ve had loads of message of support it’s been crazy. We’re gonna have a street party tomorrow!"