On Saturday, July 19, the UFC held UFC Fight Night 46: McGregor vs. Brandao from the O2 in Dublin, Ireland.

In the night’s main event, a pair of rising featherweight contenders faced off as Ireland’s Conor McGregor met The Ultimate Fighter 14 winner Diego Brandao. McGregor was coming off a lengthy absence due to a knee injury suffered at UFC Fight Night 26. The 26-year-old, former two-division Cage Warriors champion had taken the Octagon by storm, stopping Marcus Brimage in his debut and edging Max Holloway last August. Brandao, meanwhile, was looking to get back in the win column. The Brazilian suffered a first-round knockout against top-10 combatant Dustin Poirier at UFC 168 in December that snapped a three-fight winning streak.

The co-main event of the evening featured unbeaten Icelandic grappling ace Gunnar Nelson against TUF 17 alum Zak Cummings. Nelson extended his winning streak to 12 in March with his third Octagon appearance. Cummings picked up his second straight UFC win in March with a unanimous decision over Yan Cabral.

The 10-fight event kicked off Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET with a six-fight preliminary card streaming on UFC Fight Pass. The four-fight main card began at 3 p.m. ET, also on UFC Fight Pass.

Main Card Summary

Conor McGregor sent the Irish fans home happy by finishing Diego Brandao in the very first round. Brandao came out guns blazing in this one as usual. Brandao sprinted to the center of the cage and threw numerous head kicks. After that the two fighters clinched. Brandao brought the fight to the ground, but McGregor used Brandao’s own momentum to keep the throw going and end up on top. McGregor worked a bit and had to defend a few leg locks from Brandao and then the fight returned to the feet. McGregor’s reach ended up being the difference he was able to nail Brandao at perfect range and the Brazilian just couldn’t get inside. McGregor landed a right hand that crumpled Brandao. A dround-and-pound flurry and a referee stoppage followed.

Gunnar Nelson continued his rise through the welterweight division with a second-round submission of Zak Cummings. The first round was a feeling out process for both fighters. Nelson did his normal scoping out of his opponent while Cummings tried to get a handle on what Nelson was trying to do. Cummings used his size advantage and physicality to press Nelson up against the cage and land some solid strikes towards the end of the round. Cummings did not have the same kind of success in the second round. Nelson landed a few body kicks that softened up Cummings a bit. Nelson then picked his moment to explode. He had a front headlock and transitioned to the back and a body triangle. Nelson then slipped his arm under the neck for a rear-naked choke and Cummings tapped out.

Ian McCall got right back into title contention by edging Brad Pickett in an extremely competitive flyweight bout. Both fighters surely had their moments in this one. For the most part, it was a back-and-forth striking affair that went fairly similar to what you would expect between these two men. Pickett threw winging power punches and McCall fired back with crisp counter striking. McCall particularly had good success going to the body in the second round, including an uppercut to the midsection that clearly had Pickett wincing. McCall wrapped up his victory and put a bow on it by taking Pickett down and maintaining ground control for the final few minutes of the bout.

Norman Parke kicked off the main card, staying unbeaten inside the Octagon by stopping Naoyuki Kotani in the second round. The first round was a bit of a feeling out process for Parke. He seemed to be waiting for the ground specialist to try and take the fight to the ground. Kotani attempted that early in the round and Parke was able to defend easily. He scored from the outside before the fight went to the ground late in the round. Parke unloaded with violent elbows as the round came to a close. The second round was fairly similar with Parke taking a minute or so to get his rhythm before getting going. The end of the fight looked a lot like the end of the first round as Kotani turtled up against the cage and Parke fired off a barrage of punches until the referee stopped the fight.

Preliminary Card Summary

Ilir Latifi absolutely bulldozed Chris Dempsey in the preliminary headliner. Latifi came out with leg kicks early and Dempsey was immediately uncomfortable with them. Dempsey was hurt by a leg kick and Latifi went in for the kill. He nailed Dempsey with two right hands and scored a takedown, but Dempsey was already unconscious.

Neil Seery became the third Irishman to earn a victory by avenging a loss against Phil Harris. This time Seery took the decision over Harris. It was takedown defense and superior boxing that got Seery the victory. Harris was content to stand with Seery for a bit, but once he realized he didn’t have the advantage he tried to take the fight to the ground. The problem was that Seery was having nothing of it. Seery defended those takedowns and made Harris pay for it with combinations. His go-to combination throughout the fight was a straight left into an overhand right. He even dropped Harris at one point. Seery took his foot off the gas a bit in the third, but he had already secured the win.

Cathal Pendred secured one of the most amazing comebacks in UFC history with a second-round submission over Mike King. Pendred was absolutely battered by King for the entire first round. He dropped to the floor in a heap after eating a King fist, but amazingly he stayed alive in the meantime. King still kept the pressure on and landed shot after shot on the ground, but Pendred moved just enough to survive. King mounted Pendred and the Irishman had to defend rear-naked chokes and armbars. In an amazing scene the hometown crowd just willed Pendred to the end of the round. Pendred looked more composed in the second round. He secured the first takedown with a slam on King. King was still able to get a takedown of his own, but the American looked gassed. Pendred was able to take King’s back, lock in a choke, and put King to sleep.

Trevor Smith topped Tor Troeng by unanimous decision in a battle of two men coming off of a loss. Troeng neutralized Smith throughout the first round, preventing his takedowns and holding the more advantageous position when they were in the clinch. Smith wouldn’t be neutralized in the final two rounds though. Troeng scored takedowns, but Smith earned reversals to get himself on top. Smith was able to spend the majority of those rounds on top and just pepper Troeng with stiff ground-and-pound shots to earn the decision.

Nikita Krylov got back on the winning track with a late first-round stoppage over Cody Donovan. The fight lasted less than a round, but both fighters were close to victory numerous times. The first came when Donovan almost had an armbar that he locked up right after being taken to the mat. Krylov got the fight back to the feet where he began to take over. He moved forward and brought great pressure striking that had Donovan on his heels. A groin strike gave Donovan a brief moment to recover and he went after it. Donovan looked close to having a rear-naked choke, but once again Krylov was able to escape and end up on top. That is where he would end the fight when Donovan was hit with a multitude of unanswered strikes in the final seconds of the round.

Patrick Holohan brought the Dublin crowd to their feet early with a huge submission victory in his UFC debut. The submission expert dropped Josh Sampo with an uppercut early and took the fight into his world on the ground. Sampo regained his bearings rather quickly and went to work from the bottom. He nearly expertly executed an armbar, but Holohan was able to escape. In the escaping scramble Holohan took the back of Sampo. Sampo was able to defend for a while, but he ended up being forced to tap due to a rear-naked choke.

Conor McGregor def. Diego Brandao by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:05
Gunnar Nelson def. Zak Cummings by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 4:48
Ian McCall def. Brad Pickett by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Norman Parke def. Naoyuki Kotani by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 3:41
Ilir Latifi def. Chris Dempsey by TKO (overhand right). Round 1, 2:07
Neil Seery def. Phil Harris by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Cathal Pendred def. Mike King by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 3:33
Trevor Smith def. Tor Troeng by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Nikita Krylov def. Cody Donovan by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:57
Patrick Holohan def.  Josh Sampo by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:06

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.