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  • UFC Round-Up: The Stats That Could Explain Why Cathal Pendred Didn't Steal That Win

UFC Round-Up: The Stats That Could Explain Why Cathal Pendred Didn't Steal That Win

Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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Guest post from MMA journalist Mark O'Toole, who gives us the low down from each of last night's fights, beginning with the main event before moving on to the controversial Cathal Pendred bout and then the rest of the action from Boston.

Featherweight Division: Conor McGregor def. Dennis Siver (via TKO strikes Round Two)

Love and hate are attracting forces, something which all good promoters know.

Love or hate Conor McGregor’s antics (flipping off Siver, hopping the Octagon and confronting Aldo following his victory) even the most churlish will have to admit they’re interested in what McGregor’s doing.

Apathy is the enemy and for a long time fans (and more importantly privately -UFC brass) acknowledged featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s excellence while being frustrated with his seeming contentment in the comfort-zone. 

Enter McGregor and all of a sudden previously quiet featherweights like Ricardo Lamas (producer of the bizarre McGregor parody video) and Dennis Bermudez are talking trash, while the build-up to Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes’s title bout in October was consumed with both men talking about McGregor.


McGregor creates interest and his fight last night against UFC veteran and top 10 ranked Siver was promoted like an advertisement to an eventual showdown with the champion, right down to cliff-hanger ending with McGregor jumping the cage to confront the understated Brazilian.

Aldo was composed and smiled in the face of McGregor’s near-demented aggression, the smile on his face perhaps a poker tell of the money that he knows he will make off the back of this budding rivalry through pay-per-view buys.

Unfortunately as is becoming the norm with analysis of McGregor’s performances, the actual fight has come secondary to the hype and circus around it.  So how did Conor do?


In short, he put on a masterclass.

Few, if any, have dominated the wily veteran Siver as McGregor did peppering the German’s head with high kicks and left straights and hooks that continually connected leaving Siver’s face a mess by the end of the first round. McGregor controlled the Octagon continually stalking Siver from the centre.


Siver attempted two takedowns, which like a jack-in-the-box McGregor bounced up from immediately. Towards the end of the first round McGregor reigned shots down on Siver and it could’ve ended there but Siver was saved by the bell.

McGregor won in the second round a straight punch knocked Siver down, Conor didn’t rush the finish securing full mount before systematically picking his shots until referee Herb Dean stepped in to call time on the fight.

McGregor will now face Aldo in Las Vegas for the championship around summer time.


The GAA were open to the fight-taking place in Croke Park but money, like McGregor, talks.

The pay-per-view bucks as well as the production costs on Croker putting the kibosh for the moment on what could be the UFC’s biggest pay-per-view seller of the year, if it takes place in Vegas,

If Conor wins the opportunity to fight in a stadium show in Ireland will present itself again. That’s a big “if”, but doubting Conor McGregor is dangerous territory.


In April 2013 McGregor beat Brimage in one round in his UFC debut in Sweden, UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby was in disbelief, he told a few onlookers in the fight hotel afterwards that he could see Conor winning five fights before facing Aldo, then “anything could happen.”

Conor is now 5-0 in the UFC.

He has answered could he beat a UFC calibre fighter in the hot prospect Marcus Brimage by beating him round one.


He answered could he beat a high calibre striker in Max Holloway in his first fight in the US that August, despite tearing his ligaments.

He overcame that injury to return and manage the pressure of headlining a UFC event in front of his home crowd and beat a BJJ black belt in Diego Brandao in Dublin.

He beat the  first legitimate title contender  he faced in Dustin Poirier less than 2 months afterwards.

Finally with beating Siver he has been able to beat someone despite being overwhelming favourite and having the pressure of the carrot of  a title shot dangled in front of him and the circus that follows that.

The last question Conor has to answer is if he can beat the man who has been unbeaten in nine years? It will be his toughest challenge yet.

Welterweight Division: Cathal Pendred def. Sean Spencer (via unanimous decision 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Like Holohan before him Pendred enjoyed huge Irish support. The Dubliner got the crowd worked up walking out to his signature entrance music “Put ‘Em Under Pressure.”

There was a lot of consternation over this result with UFC President Dana White, co-commentator Joe Rogan and sections of the press declaring it a robbery and that Spencer should have won.

Spencer looked more fluid and comfortable in his striking than Pendred but other than a first round flurry that rocked Pendred, he didn’t put the Dubliner in danger at any other point.

Pendred actually threw and connected with more shots as well as scoring 4 takedowns.

Add to this Cathal’s attempted kimura lock off a crucifix and the cries of robbery seem very overstated.  The two judges that scored all three rounds to Pendred will probably shift most of the blame for the backlash against the decision, but there was an extremely good case for Pendred to have won two rounds.

Cathal will need to work on his striking defence, particularly his propensity for keeping his chin high in retreat in future but for the time being Pendred moves his record to 16 wins, 2 losses and 1 Draw and an 11 fight undefeated streak stretching back over 4 years.

Here's the round-up from the rest of the action:

Featherweight Division: Charles Rosa def. Sean Soriano (via D’Arce choke Round 3)

Charles Rosa opened the televised preliminaries having fought one half of the night’s main event last October in Sweden, when the native Bostonian lost out in a decision against Dennis Siver.

That night Rosa, a UFC debutant taking the fight at week’s notice, surprised many with his fearless performance and you could be forgiven for thinking the 30-27 unanimous decision in Siver’s favour was too lopsided by the judges.


Boston-native Rosa with a full camp behind him brought the same frenetic style and ground game that we saw in Sweden, as well as support from a hometown crowd.

Soriano attempted a triangle in the first round that wasn’t sunk in properly as Rosa eased himself into the fight.

The rest of the fight saw a slick, high-paced ground game from Rosa whose transitions to gain position were well -executed. Rosa also attempted Armbar, Toehold and Peruvian Necktie submissions, until eventually beating Soriano with a D’Arce choke in the final round.

Lightweight Division: Johnny Case def. Frankie Perez (via TKO Round 3)

Johnny Case completely dominated Frankie Perez looking comfortable throughout with crisp striking.

Case, looking much bigger than Perez, finished with ease in the third. On the ground Case transitioned easily from half-guard, to back mount, to full mount with minimal defense from Perez. Once full mount was secured, Case functionally and efficiently hammered Perez with right hands until the referee awarded the victory to him.

Case has now won his last ten fights, the last two in the UFC.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan seemed high on Case throughout the fight and the lightweight might be an interesting future opponent for any of the UFC’s Irish lightweights - Paul Redmond, Joseph Duffy or Norman Parke. Both Case and Parke own victories over Kazuki Tokudome.

Flyweight Division: Paddy Holohan def. Shane Howell (via unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Tallaght’s Paddy Holohan started the Dublin clean sweep for SBG in Boston.

Outside of the Octagan “The Hooligan” is one of the most approachable gentleman you could meet, before the fight he even had a Boston tea party tasting with top MMA journalist Ariel Helwani. After the fight Holohan embraced Howell and wrapped the tricolor around his opponent in a show of sportsmanship.

It’s therefore hard to reconcile that smiling bubbly Dubliner with the grappling demon who mauled Howell for three rounds.

Holohan nearly could have finished the fight via a rear-naked in the first round while utilizing a body triangle of similar vintage to one shown by his clubmate Gunnar Nelson time and time again.

Howell displayed a huge level of fortitude and toughness to survive Holohan in the but as coach John Kavanagh told Holohan in between rounds, Paddy was winning the exchanges standing and on the ground.  It’s on the ground where Holohan really shines with an all-action style and ability to transition to better positions at will with his rangy, flexible frame.

Paddy finished all three rounds with back mount secured and again sunk the body triangle in the third round.

In the end Holohan won by decision to make up for his loss in his last outing in October to start the night superbly for the Irish fighters on the card. McGregor was watching on the split screen in his dressing room and at the post event press conference asked UFC President if Holohan would get a $50,000 bonus for his dominance. Unfortunately Holohan would have to make do with a sup of McGregor’s whiskey instead to celebrate a good victory.

He also got an extra dig in after the match slating McGregor’s featherweight rival Ricardo Lamas for his parody video on Conor.

Lightweight Division: Chris Wade def. Zhang Lipeng (via unanimous decision 30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Unquestionably the most boring fight on the card as Chris Wade beat the inaugural winner of The Ultimate Fighter: China.

In a clinch-filled snorefest, the only thing that broke the monotony was Lipeng’s penchant for low blows, which cost him a point deduction in the second round. Admittedly you’d have got similar levels of entertainment watching Hans Moeman getting hit with a football in the groin.

Welterweight Division: Lorenz Larkin def. John Howard (via KO Round 3)

Larkin dispatched Boston’s Howard in the first round to gain a Performance of the Night with Conor McGregor.

Larkin was light on his feet working his jab, straight and hook against Howard. A right-left-right combination knocked Howard to the ground where Larkin looked to referee Herb Dean for askance to finish, Dean hadn’t seen enough yet so Larkin unleashed a volley of shots to bring the contest to the end.

Larkin was fluid, fast and menacing in dispatching a legitimate powerhouse in Howard, leaving many to think why he hadn’t moved down to Welterweight before now.

Lightweight Division: Gleison Tibau def. Norman Parke  (via split decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

A tentative fight saw the experienced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt bringing his record to 16 wins in the UFC and joint third in the all time rankings behind George St. Pierre and Matt Hughes.

That speaks to the Tibau’s experience and also to Parke’s growth as a fighter, being able to take a fighter of Tibau’s calibre to a split decision. The Antrim man will go back to the drawing board to add additional facets to his game as Parke seemed to run out of ideas to impact the wily veteran who was able to score two takedowns on Parke.

Middleweight Division: Uriah Hall def. Ron Stallings (via TKO doctor’s stoppage Round One)

The one-time Golden Boy and Ultimate Fighter prospect was originally meant to face Costas Philippou who pulled out, then his replacement Louis Taylor pulled out and up stepped Ron Stallings at a week’s notice.

The fight was developing nicely with both men trading blows until the Doctor called a stoppage due to a nasty cut below the eye despite Stallings protestations that he could continue.

Lightweight Division: Donald Cerrone def. Benson Henderson  (via unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Cerrone replaced Eddie Alvarez in this fight having only fought 15 days prior against top prospect Myles Jury, this replacement had many fight fans licking their lips to see the third fight between good friends Henderson and Cerrone.

Under the WEC banner these two competitors had fought twice with Henderson winning on both occasions. Cerrone who travels and lives in his RV put in a solid performance against former lightweight champion Henderson, but much like the Pendred fight many onlookers scored the fight for the loser.

Henderson peppered Cerrone’s legs with kicks throughout the fight while Cerrone scored the takedowns in the fight.

Henderson looked shocked at the decision when the results was read out by Bruce Buffer.

Cerrone looked more laboured than his usual dynamic self and maybe the fifteen day turn around affected his performance. Nevertheless Cerrone can now enjoy a well-deserved break having beaten two of the division’s main title contenders in a month.

A rematch with undefeated Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov could be in the offing.

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