UFC Dublin: KO blow for Cathal Pendred as Daly records unanimous victory
It was a contrasting night for team-mates Cathal Pendred and Aisling Daly at UFC Dublin tonight as Pendred suffered a first round stoppage while Daly recorded a unanimous victory.
Much to the dismay to a majority of those in attendance at the 3Arena, a volley of pinpoint punches from Tom Breese brought about a ruthless first round TKO of fan favourite Pendred at UFC Fight Night 76.
The bout’s conclusion accurately reflected the previous four minutes and 37 seconds, as the undefeated Breese handed Pendred the most crushing loss of his career.
In every significant facet, the 24-year-old was superior and Pendred must now consider consecutive losses for the first time.
As expected, the Birmingham native was not offered much Irish hospitality. A teammate of Joseph Duffy in Montreal’s famed Tristar Gym, Breese had told media on Thursday that he was far from impressed with Pendred.
The pair had to be separated at the weigh-ins, which saw the Dubliner uncharacteristically agitated.
As he did in this venue last July, Pendred came out to the Horslips 'Put ‘em under Pressure', receiving a seismic reception in the process. Clapping and foot stomping accompanied a chorus of 'Ole, Ole, Ole' as Pendred came out the aggressor.
Breese however soon found a home for his jab, and rebuffed the bloodied Dubliner’s takedown attempts.
It wasn’t long before the face and torso of each man was crimson in colour. Breese continued to stalk Pendred and connect with increasingly solid shots.
He then landed a sublime string of straight, pulverising punches which dropped Pendred. Breese continued to unload on the grounded SBG man before the referee was forced to step in.
Tom Breese said: “This is still only my second fight in the UFC and all I’ve been focusing on is beating Pendred, you know. Mentally I always prepare for the worst - I prepare to find myself in difficult situations. But I believe my training was more superior than his, and ultimately that’s why I won the fight.”
Aisling Daly managed to restore the feel-good in the 3Areana as she battled her way to blunt, but resounding unanimous decision win over Ericka Almeida.
Teammate Cathal Pendred’s loss to Tom Breese had somewhat subdued the audience, but Daly ensured their despair was fleeting.
Daly had been unable to compete in last year’s event as she was confined to The Ultimate Fighter house in Las Vegas. Her walk to the cage was slow and measured, and the Irish ultras bellowed out Zombie by the Cranberries.
The frisson of patriotism intensified when the big screen flashed a shot of the dapper Conor McGregor watching his teammate intently.
Unquestionably, it was the most emotionally tangible moment of the evening thus far; reticent of here in 2014.
Daly sprang straight at Almeida and the pair engaged in a prolonged clinch where they exchanged knees and uppercuts en masse. Meanwhile, The Fields of Athenry was given its first rendition of the evening.
Just before the turn of the fourth minute, Daly scored a takedown, and began throwing haymakers from a crouched position.
The second round began as had its predecessor. However, Daly attained a dominant position with greater haste. The Dubliner briefly mounted Almeida, the 26-tear-old Rio native then turned the tables with two minutes on the clock.
Taking Daly’s back, Almeida sought to lock up a rear-naked choke, but was kept at bay through a series of blind, overhead punches.
As the final round beckoned, the decibel level soared. The participants responded by attempting to decapitate each other.
Once more, Ireland’s sole female representative in the UFC found herself hunched above her foe, endeavouring to find a telling blow.
And, while it never materialised, the remainder of her shots were greeted with a ‘Hey’ each time they landed. Her victory rarely looked in doubt. Having lost her previous bout, this was an impressive return to form for ‘Ais the Bash’.
Daly’s post-fight interview was barely audible due the boisterous reception afforded to her by the resuscitated attendees.
Previously, in the middleweight division, Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko won a tough split-decision win over Doncaster boy Scott Askham.
The opening fight on the card saw Hirsute South African McLellan made his short walk to the octagon against a backdrop of AC DC’s Thunderstruck, much to the pleasure of the still gathering crowd.
His opponent, the wonderfully named Texan Bubba Bush, sprinted into the cage to a punk rock imagining of Amazing Grace.
Bush wasn’t long in closing the distance on McLellan before initiating a takedown against the cage. Upon dragging him to the mat again, the American was more effective and sought to inflict damage from the top position.
Having absorbed some firm strikes, McLellan swept Bush beautifully and then regained his footing to lock in a tight guillotine choke, but the latter wriggled free just as the bell sounded.
As is often this case with bouts so early in the billing, crowd participation was genuine, but sparse. That is, however, until the Johannesburg man rallied them just as the final round was beginning, and a raucous reaction followed.
The former rugby player cracked Bush early with an uppercut, and continued his grappling dominance.
With less than a minute to go, he radically upped his output and landed a viciously flurry of strikes which rendered Bush defenceless and the referee stepped in with just two seconds on the clock.
Darren Elkins cruised to a well-eared and efficient unanimous decision victory over fellow featherweight Robert Whiteford in the second contest of the night.
Elkins outworked, out-muscled and completely neutralised Whiteford over the course of an impressive 15 minutes for the Indiana native
He may have knocked out local lad Paul Redmond in his most recent outing, but Scotland’s Robert Whiteford was given warm a reception while walking to the octagon with his country’s national anthem blaring.
Veteran Darren Elkins, however, was not so lucky, and he was resoundingly booed. He did, though, marginally have the better of the early goings; moving fluently and popping his jab. He then landed a takedown but failed to advance his position.
Whiteford had his moments in the opening five minutes, occasionally landing power shots, but Elkins proved the more assured operator.
The second round did not differ hugely; Elkins utilised his superior wrestling to smother Whiteford, and tenderise him with short, stiff shots.
In the final minute, the Scot flipped Elkins with a spectacular judo throw, which momentarily enlivened the crowd, but he had little else to offer in the remaining moments.
The first of his nation to compete in the UFC, Whiteford is experienced enough to have known that he was two rounds down on the judge’s scorecards, so he come out for the third swinging with reckless abandon. He did land a pair of hooks, but Elkins stood firm.
The American returned the favour in the second half of the period, prior to clamping onto Whiteford once more, and closing out the bout with a series of choke attempts. The last of which would surely have finished Whiteford, but for the sound of the buzzer.
The closing bout on the preliminary card at UFC Fight Night 76 in the 3Arena saw Scotland’s Stevie Ray win a unanimous decision over Parisian Mickael Lebout.
In what proved a cagey lightweight affair, Ray, another team-mate of Joe Duffy, recorded his third victory in as many UFC bouts.
While this win was not as spectacular as his first two, it was vital for the Fife man to maintain momentum and to ensure he gets a more daunting, high-profile opponent next time out.
He won this contest through perseverance alone; neither man found a rhythm or was ever in credible danger.
Ray pushed the pace, sought to initiate engagements in the pocket but Lebout seemed of a different mind.
Ray now moves on to bigger and better.