It’s been almost seven days since Conor McGregor defeated Dustin Poirier but the ‘Irish Take Over’ continues this weekend with Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan and adopted son, Gunnar Nelson all in action this Saturday night.
Bellator’s latest season continues this Friday night and the most intriguing fight takes place in the main event.
Former Bellator featherweight champion Daniel Straus (22-5) takes on Justin Wilcox (14-6) in a very intriguing bout. Former champ Straus lost his belt in a rematch against Pat Curran in which he had to cut his hair in order to make the 145 lbs limit earlier in the year.
Straus is obsessed about getting his hands back on his former property but in his way is Justin Wilcox who has a pretty patchy record in truth. Jason Fischer was his last opponent in a lightweight bout in which he won. At featherweight he has lost his last two fights but he sees Straus as a big scalp and a convincing win against him could propel him into title contention sooner rather than later.
How to watch Bellator 127: VIVA (10pm) Saturday, 4th October 2014.
Sweden and Canada play host to a double header of UFC action on Saturday night as the Irish contingent continue the ‘take over’ as Paddy Holohan, Cathal Pendred and Gunnar Nelson all take to the Octagon looking to make it back to back wins after an epic night in Dublin last July.
Okay, I’m aware that Gunnar Nelson is from Iceland but we’ve adopted him as our own. Hey, if the English can claim Andy Murray then we can do the same.
Cathal Pendred (14-2-1) last defeated the now suspended, Mike King in July and looks to make a bigger splash in the welterweight division as he takes on tricky customer Gasan Umalatov (15-3-1).
It looks a very even contest on paper and having fought twice already this year, Umalatov is certainly no stranger to the Octagon with one loss and one victory to his record this year.
An intriguing fight and one that Pendred will need to play cautiously. Swinging wildly early in Dublin landed the Dubliner in a lot of trouble and emotions were probably running high for his UFC debut. If he fights the way he usually can, there’s no reason why Pendred cannot get his hand raised at the end of the contest but he’ll need to avoid the takedown and submission game of Umalatov who has made seven fighters tapped throughout his career.
In the main event, undefeated Gunnar Nelson (13-0-1) takes on Rick Story (17-8) in what could very well be, Nelson’s biggest challenge yet.
Nelson is an exceptional fighter fighting out of the SBG camp and has only had two fights go the judges in his career. The submission expert finished 9 fighters by this method but in recent fights, he has shown how well rounded his by staying on his feet and producing some slick and fluid boxing.
In Rick Story, the Icelandic native will have his work cut out for him. A game scrapper and grinder, Story likes to tire opponents out and make it a dirty fight. It may not look hugely pretty on camera but it is an extremely exhausting technique that can wear fighters down.
Story has been quite inconsistent of late in winning one fight and losing another and he’ll certainly be looking for back to back wins to keep some sort of momentum going in a big main event slot.
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Once the action from Sweden comes to a close, attention switches to Canada where Paddy Holohan (10-0) takes on Chris Kelades (7-1) makes his UFC debut after “the hooligan’s” previous opponent Louis Gaudinot withdrew from the contest.
Kelades is an unknown fighter to most but an unknown fighter may prove to be a dangerous fighter with something to prove especially in a UFC debut in his hometown.
Kelades has shown great courage to take on an undefeated fighter in Holohan who possesses some exquisite ground game techniques with eight submissions to his credit. It will be an interesting fight but confidence is high from Holohan’s camp and he’ll be looking to make an impact in the bantamweight division.
The Irish contingent will certainly be lifted by Conor McGregor’s performance last week and will look to fly the flag for Irish mixed martial arts for yet another week and we here at Pundit Arena are right behind them.
Check back in on Tuesday for a recap of all the action from these fights and more in the ‘Tuesday Takedown’. Enjoy the fights.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena.