UFC Fight Night 76 has endured more facelifts than the late, great Michael Jackson. Patrick Holohan and Louis Smolka have been bumped to the penthouse suite after an injury forced Joseph Duffy out of the headliner.
Duffy, who had received the red carpet treatment from the UFC, was slated to fight Dustin Poirier, but a concussion suffered in sparring last Saturday evening put the fight in serious jeopardy. He was officially ruled out from the main event bout on Wednesday.
UFC lightweight Norman Parke offered to step up as a late replacement, but Poirier didn’t like the idea of a sudden change of opponent and rapidly declined the fight. Bummer.
The co-main event fight was initially slated to be a heavyweight contender’s bout between Stipe Miocic and Ben Rothwell. However, that fight was also scrapped a little over a week ago after Miocic was injured in training.
The old adage that “the show goes on” has been used more in the last two weeks than a Backstreet Boys song on a ’90s radio station. UFC President Dana White has to be scratching his head right about now wondering how marquee fighters risk their health so close to a scheduled event. In any case, Rothwell found his own way to contribute from the sidelines.
— Big Ben Rothwell (@RothwellFighter) October 21, 2015
On a more positive note, this is a great opportunity for either Holohan or Smolka to steal the spotlight. Ireland loves its native fighters, and the 3Arena in Dublin will be raining green whenever “Paddy” Holohan steps through the curtains.
Duffy is a talented fighter with a bright future in the UFC, but he is also leaning off his success from five years ago, when he beat Conor McGregor. The bout against Poirier would have been his first crack at a legitimate UFC contender, and it would have come under the main event spotlight.
Holohan, who is 3-1 in the UFC, could turn heads with an impressive win on Saturday. He admitted to Independent.ie that it felt “amazing” to be competing in the headliner in his hometown:
“It absolutely feels amazing – going from the foundation program in SBG Ireland, to headlining the main event in my hometown? It’s a serious achievement and I’m very proud of myself and all the people who helped me get here.”
He’ll have his work cut out for him against Smolka, an emerging 24-year-old flyweight with a diverse striking game. Smolka’s only loss came to flyweight title contender Chris Cariaso a year ago in a split decision.
Holohan isn’t the one excited about being bumped to the VIP section of the fight card. When speaking with FOX Sports’ Damon Martin, Smolka claimed he was still in shock:
“Life does not suck right now. It’s pretty amazing. It’s so unexpected. I never thought that this was going to be what happened on my trip. I guess the luck of the Irish is real. I love this place it’s awesome.”
The full results from Friday’s weigh-ins are listed below.
Main card (UFC Fight Pass; 4 p.m. ET)
Patrick Holohan (126) vs. Louis Smolka (125)
Norman Parke (156) vs. Reza Madadi (156)
Nicolas Dalby (170) vs. Darren Till (171)
Neil Seery (125) vs. Jon Delos Reyes (125)
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass; 1:15 p.m. ET)
Stevie Ray (155) vs. Mickael Lebout (155)
Aisling Daly (116) vs. Ericka Almeida (115)
Scott Askham (184) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (185)
Cathal Pendred (169) vs. Tom Breese (171)
Darren Elkins (145) vs. Robert Whiteford (145)
Bubba Bush (185) vs. Garreth McLellan (185)