Europe Takes Focus in Dublin (UFC FN 76 Review)

ufc_fn76The UFC continues to try to figure out a way that they can put together a card and not have it changed before the fight begins.

It could be the toughest part of managing the UFC right now as the sport continues to sit just outside the fringes of mainstream sport with certain fighters bringing it closer.

It is an issue that seems to have no end in sight as the UFC continues to see some top fighters drop out of fights just before they are about to start.

It happened once again when the UFC prepared to fight in Dublin for another fight card that featured some of the best Irish fighters in the promotion.

Leading the way was Joe Duffy who was beginning to be built as the next European champion in the UFC.

He had only fought a limited amount of times in the UFC but he was rising fast and hoping to make the rankings this time around.

Then only a few days before the fight he suffered a concussion that took the main event and an Irish favourite from the show.

It wasn’t the only injury that changed this card though as weeks before the fight the co-main event was forced off of the card as well.

It was going to be a good one too as Stipe Miocic was to take on Ben Rothwell in a big heavyweight fight that was sure to provide fireworks.

Then Miocic was injured and the fight was taken off of the card reducing the main card and providing Paddy Holohan with a co-main event opportunity.

Holohan got another big opportunity after the Duffy fight as the fellow Irishman got the main event fight thanks to two injuries on the card.

It is not ideal for the UFC especially when these injuries happen to the main card and the top billed fights on the card.

There is little for them to do though as they simply have to adjust on the fly, something that they are getting very used to lately.

The UFC Fight Night 76 card might not have been what the UFC envisioned when they set up card to head back to Dublin but what they got needed to make due.

Holohan led the card but the entire fight was far more important in the big picture of European fighters.

More than one fighter had the chance to move into the top 15 rankings in their respective divisions and a handful of them had the chance to do so in front of a favourable crowd.

The UK and Ireland region is getting better and they are beginning to show some promise and this fight was full of UK and Irish fighters that had a big chance to make an impression on the UFC.mma-sidebar.fw

In all these fighters went 4-3-1 before the final fight where Holohan looked to get one more win for the region on a big night.

The Irishman had plenty going for him as he has been a fan favourite in his hometown of Dublin with one of the loudest cheers the last time the UFC went to the city, he was the first fight of the night that time.

Now he got the chance to take on a different role fighting as the main event in his hometown and looking, like many of the region’s fighters, to move into the rankings with a win.

He came into the fight on a two-fight winning streak and never expected to be the focus of the night but was happy to be the guy on the night.

Across the octagon was Louis Smolka who also looked to take advantage of his new role as a main eventer and upset the home crowd.

He had already beat one of the hometown favourites in his fight before Fight Night 76 when he won a decision against Neil Seery.

Now he was looking to take out two Irishman and tried to do it in a big way that could have earned him a spot in the top 15 of the flyweight division.

There was plenty on the line and a full crowd in attendance as Holohan and Smolka faced-off for the main event as UFC closed out a big night in Dublin.

Typical for a flyweight fight both fighters came out swinging with a fast pace that only the lightest weight class can achieve.

Then one of the best jiu jitsu battles in recent memory broke out as both fighters began exchanging submission attempts throughout the first two rounds.

Eventually Smolka took the advantage in the second round getting the mount and eventually taking Holohan’s back and earning the rear naked choke.

It was an impressive showing of jiu jitsu skill from both fighters but in the end it was a disappointing result for the Irish crowd.

Some fighters took full advantage of their big opportunity to make and impressive and gain some recognition while others faltered under the pressure.

Either way the Irish fans got another good card and European MMA was featured as it continues to grow with more impressive performances every time they come out.

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