UFC Fight Night 46 Preview

ufc_fn46The UFC will return to Ireland for the first time since 2009 and into what looks to be an entirely new MMA environment. In 2009 MMA in Ireland was not at the same place as it is today as it was merely developing in 2009. The first fight card in the country was full of American fighters and a few other nationalities but no Irish fighters. The closest the home fans got was Marcus Davis whose nickname was “The Irish Hand Grenade.” Despite having a reputation of a scrapping nation the attitude would not translate to the octagon. At that time boxing was still king in Ireland and the MMA world was beginning to pick up speed but not fast enough to feature a fighter from the country on the card. That will be greatly different when the UFC returns to Dublin at UFC Fight Night 46. A total of five Irish fighters will be featured on the card in a display of just how far the country has come in their MMA development. New gyms have sprung up and more fighters are coming out of the country than ever before. These fighters are not the small as they used to be as they are becoming true contenders in their divisions. There is no better representation of this than Connor McGregor. McGregor would come out of the biggest British fight promotion where many Irish fighters got their start, Cage Warriors Fighting Championship. After winning the lightweight title in CWFC and becoming one of the biggest name in fighting throughout the British Isles, McGregor would get his shot in the biggest promotion in MMA. To get that shot McGregor would decide to drop in weight class avoiding the amazing talent in the lightweight division and taking full advantage of power that had not been seen in the 145 lbs division. He would impress immediately when he beat Marcus Brimage via TKO after just over one minute in the octagon. It was exactly what McGregor would need to prove that his legend from Ireland was for real. It was also enough to make McGregor one of the most exciting featherweight prospects in the UFC. Another win against Max Holloway has put McGregor in the top 15 of the featherweight division with many believing he could be a title contender very soon. Now McGregor gets to try to prove that thought right in front of his home country as he tries to continue to move up the featherweight ladder. His opponent will be looking to upset the home crowd favourite and make his own path up that ladder in Diego Brandao. Brandao was a member of The Ultimate Fighter 14th and would win the Featherweight tournament. Now he is looking at another talent filled division trying to find a way up that ladder after mixed results since entering the UFC. Both of these fighters have been promising in their young UFC careers and now they get the chance to prove to the UFC that they belong in the conversation for the title in the Featherweight division. Both are good fighters but there is no doubt that McGregor is a stand-up fighter that loves to trade with his opponents. Brandao can stand and bang as well but has a BJJ black belt as well making him a well-rounded fighter. It should be a tight battle and with the crowd fully behind McGregor there will be plenty of pressure on the Irish native. Still he will come through in this fight and prove once again that he is a top prospect in the division with a knockout win in the third round.

Before the Irish fans get to see their own countryman fight in the main event they will see another fighter that comes close to home. Gunnar Nelson is not a native of Ireland but he comes pretty close as the Icelander trains with Connor McGregor at SBG in Ireland. He will be a defacto home crowd favourite and with good reason as he is one of the more exciting European Fighters in the UFC. He has only had three fights in the promotion as he has only fought in the European cards so far. Still with these three fights he has notched three wins with two submissions and one unanimous decision. So far he has been impressive and has been able to move into the top 15 in the welterweight division. Now he looks to keep that ranking and move up the rankings as he takes on a fighter trying to take his spot. Zak Cummings has not been in the UFC for very long, much like Nelson, as he has only had two fights in the promotion. He has one both and is now facing his biggest challenge against Nelson who seems to be headed to a title run very soon. The fight will match up two fighters that prefer to fight on the ground as a wrestling battle could break out. Cummings has better stand-up than Nelson and would be smart to stay standing and avoid the great ground game of Nelson. It is a fight where Nelson has a lot to lose and not a lot to gain. Still Nelson will get the extra motivation from the crowd that will be with him as he takes on Cummings in the co-main event of the evening.

 

Fight Card

Main Event:
“The Notorious” Connor McGregor vs. Diego “Ceara” Brandao (UFC Fight Pass)

Main Card:
Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson vs. Zak Cummings (UFC Fight Pass)

Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall vs. Brad “One Punch” Pickett (UFC Fight Pass)

“Stormin” Norman Parke vs. Naoyuki Kotani (UFC Fight Pass)

Undercard:
Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi vs. Chris Dempsey (UFC Fight Pass)

Phil “Billy” Harris vs. Neil Seery (UFC Fight Pass)

Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred vs. Mike King (UFC Fight Pass)

Tor “The Hammer” Troeng vs. Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith (UFC Fight Pass)

Cody Donovan vs. Nikita “The Al Capone” Krylov (UFC Fight Pass)

Paddy “The Hooligan” Holohan vs. Josh “The Gremlin” Sampo (UFC Fight Pass)

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