Neil Seery finally has a new date for his career swansong.
Last September, it was announced that Seery would face Ian McCall at UFC Fight Night 99 at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Very shortly thereafter, the Dublin flyweight confirmed to Irish MMA journalist Peter Carroll that he planned to hang up his four ounce gloves following the bout.
It seemed like the perfect way for the amiable fan favourite to bow out, fighting a top-quality opponent only hours up the road from his hometown.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be.
The day before the event, McCall was forced to withdraw from the fight through illness.
The bout was later rescheduled for UFC 208 in February. However, Seery was subsequently forced to withdraw from that date due to a family bereavement.
“2 Tap” wasn’t willing to bow out in such frustrating fashion, though.
This morning Peter Carroll of the Irish Mirror broke the news that Seery will face Brazil’s Alexandre Pantoja at UFC Fight Night 113 in Glasgow on July 16th.
“I just want to put a full stop on my career, that’s why I want to fight again,” Seery told Carroll(via SevereMMA).
“At the moment I’m still getting tested by USADA, I’m still on the UFC roster, this fight in Glasgow will let me put that line in the sand and finish my career. I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in this game. I’ve achieved a lot in MMA, but as soon as this fight is over I’ll be more than happy to walk away.”
True to form, Seery has not chosen to bow out with a gimme fight. Pantoja is ten years the Irishman’s junior and hasn’t lost an official bout since June of 2010. He has won ten straight since that setback, moving his overall record to 17-2. He has finished twelve opponents, six via submission and six via KO/TKO, while never himself suffering defeat inside the distance.
Nova Uniao’s Pantoja was also a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions, a series which was set up to determine a challenger for UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Tim Elliot was the eventual winner and went on to drop a unanimous decision to ‘Mighty Mouse’, but Pantoja made the semi-final. Along the way, he defeated Brandon Moreno, who has since gone on to record three straight wins in the UFC and establish himself as one of the promotion’s hottest prospects.
In his lone official UFC bout to date, Pantoja, a former Ressurection Fight Alliance flyweight champion, secured a split decision win over Eric Shelton at UFC on Fox 23 in January.
“All of the fighters on that season of The Ultimate Fighter were champions. I’m not going to say I remember every detail about him, but I remember that he was a very good fighter and the fact he made it to the semi-final proves that,” Seery said of his opponent.
“Every single fighter on that season was top class. I’m looking forward to getting in there with him and putting on an exciting fight for the fans.”
Due to the frustrating sequence of events that unfolded over the last number of months, Seery(16-12) has suffered through an uncharacteristic period of inactivity. The Team Ryano representative’s last fight was all the way back in May of last year, when he lost a decision to talented Japanese fighter Kyoji Horiguchi in Holland. By the time fight night arrives then, Seery will have been out for more than 14 months.