The weekend ends on a high note for the UFC as it heads to the O2 Center in Dublin, Ireland, to wrap up the two venue week for the organization. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor meets the scrappy Brazilian, Diego Brandao, in the main event, as rising welterweight prospect, Gunnar Nelson, holds down the co main event on the card. The Dublin event will be shown exclusively on Fight Pass. The prelims start the card at 12:30 pm EST, and the main card will officially take over Fight Pass at 3 pm EST. For live coverage make sure the follow the MMA Spotlight through social media during the duration of the fight card.
#13 Conor McGregor (14-2) vs. Diego Brandao (22-9) – Featherweight Bout – This fight has gotten harder and harder to predict after putting much so much though and analysis into it. McGregor is a potential star in the making, and the UFC is treating him as such. However, Diego Brandao can look like an absolute stud from time to time. Sure, McGregor has turned into an Irish sensation; creating enough buzz around him to get the Ultimate Fighting Championship back to Dublin, Ireland for the first time in years. There are a few important factors McGregor will be fighting, besides Brandao, leading up to the fight. First, there is the fact that he is coming into a fight after an 11-month layoff recovery from surgery on a torn ACL. Ring rust could become a factor, even though most fighters like to dismiss that notion. It will also be interesting to see if McGregor has the same jump to his step after the knee injury. “The Notorious” one has a very intriguing upside; not just with his skill set inside the cage, but it is his brash candor outside of it makes him almost a must watch for MMA fans. Brendao presents a tremendous jump in competition in the featherweight division. If the Irish celebrity can hurdle the obstacle at hand, a fight with someone ranked around the top five in his division is within his grasp. Conor McGregor via Technical Knockout.
#13 Gunnar Nelson (12-0-1) vs. Zak Cummings (17-3) – Welterweight Bout – Speaking of upside, Gunnar Nelson has that label written all over him going into Saturday night. Zak Cummings has a well-rounded game, with an intriguing grappling prowess that he will need to execute inside the octagon. Nelson will just be too much; his striking style is as unique as they come, and his grappling skills are just as good, if not better, than his opponent Cummings. Nelson is the heavily favored fighter, and should be as much coming into this matchup. Do not expect a blemish on Gunnar Nelson’s undefeated record just yet. The calm demeanor does not fool anyone; this guy is a lethal weapon inside the cage. Gunnar Nelson via Submission.
#10 Brad Pickett (25-8) vs. #3 Ian McCall (12-4-1) – Flyweight Bout – Ian McCall may regret the words he stated earlier back in March when he and Pickett were set to fight on the London, England card. McCall was forced out of the bout due to an injury, and unfortunately enough for him, there is still bad blood boiling over from the lead up to that event. Brad Pickett is probably as fired up as anyone has ever seen him coming into UFC Fight Night in Dublin. Pickett cited some comments McCall stated in the past in a very tense interview with Ariel Helwani. In a quick summary; McCall referred to Pickett as too slow and loves knowing that he has gotten under the skin of “One Punch” Pickett. Winner of five Performance of the Night bonuses, Pickett has used McCall’s taunts as motivation; saying he has not wanted to punch someone as much as Ian McCall in his fighting career. Whether or not the steamed Pickett will result to anything is still yet to be seen, but an angry flyweight with the nickname “One Punch” easily persuades a judgement call from the MMA Spotlight. Brad Pickett via Unanimous Decision.
Norman Parke (20-2-1) vs. Naoyuki Kotani (33-10-7) – Lightweight Bout – This one is quite the close fight to call. Kotani has not lost a fight since 2010, and has finished 11 out of his 13 fights since that loss. This is Kotani’s debut in the UFC. He has been fighting lesser competition outside the octagon, while losing to practically all of the recognizable names he has faced in his career. Parke has yet to lose since 2010 as well, but did fight to a draw in his last outing against Leonardo Santos. Kotani has the skills to beat the Irish fighter, but putting it all together has been the issue thus far in his career. Parke is an exciting fighter and loves to bring it in each fight, and with him fighting in his home country, expect a more tenacious Norman “Stormin” Parke at the O2 Center in Dublin. Norman Parke via Unanimous Decision.
In other notable fights worth mentioning, teammate of Conor McGregor, Cathal Pendred, will be fighting Mike King in an interesting match up of middleweights. Also, Tor Troeng takes on Trevor Smith on the prelims. The Guardian Liberty Voice will be following along with the UFC action, just make sure to keep up to date with the MMA Spotlight.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Follow Justin’s coverage in the MMA Spotlight section
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA