UFC Fight Night 46: Fight Pass Preliminary Card Preview

UFC Fight Night 46It’s always tough to distinguish between the main card and undercard on a UFC Fight Pass event, but that moment when I’m told my stream has ended and I need to switch over to another stream on the same website is when you know business is about to pick up. Before we get to that special and perplexing moment on Saturday afternoon however, there are six preliminary fights to go down in Dublin, including three bouts with Irishmen. The preliminary card begins at 12:30pm ET, and it seems like the UFC is planning to move the bouts along quickly, as they’ve only scheduled two hours and thirty minutes for the six bouts rather than the typical three hours. It’s strange that one of the three Irish fighters booked on the prelims isn’t the lead-in to the main card, as judging from Friday’s weigh-ins the crowd is going to be extremely rowdy when their countrymen enter the cage. Instead, Ilir Latifi (8-3, 1 NC) finds himself as the last bout before the big show starts. Latifi was originally scheduled to face Tom Lawlor, but now finds himself up against late replacement Chris Dempsey (10-1). Dempsey is a solid fighter, but he is a 185er moving up to 205lbs for this shot in the UFC and looked out of place next to Latifi on the scales. Dempsey also happens to be a wrestler, so this is somewhat like a wrestling version of the Drysdale/Berish bout we saw recently. The line is nowhere near that bout however, as Latifi is a -235 favorite (bet $235 to win $100) at Several Bookmakers, with Dempsey a +215 underdog (bet $100 to win $215). There’s a tighter line in the flyweight bout between Neil Seery (13-10) and Phil Harris (22-11, 2 NC). Seery is just a -155 favorite, with Harris +145 on the other side, and this one is tough to call. These men have fought once before, with Harris picking up a unanimous decision back in 2010. Seery was a 7-7 fighter heading into that bout and has improved his overall game immensely since that time, while Harris is very much the same fighter. Harris still has the edge on the ground, but whether he can get the fight there consistently is now the question. This is a must-win fight for the Englishman. He was briefly cut following his last outing against Louis Gaudinot before that was changed to a no-contest, and one would imagine the same fate would befall him were he to lose again. Seery will also have the motivation of the home crowd behind him in this bout, something that has benefitted him in the past. Another fighter who will feel the love of the home crowd is Cathal Pendred (13-2-1) who, like Seery, is a former Cage Warriors champion attempting to transition to the UFC. Pendred went the route of TUF to get into the organization and ended up losing to eventual tournament winner Eddie Gordon. His castmate-turned-opponent Mike King (5-0) also suffered the same fate on the show. Given the track record of TUF contestants lately, the loser of this bout may find themselves looking for work on the regional circuit, so it is an essential bout for both men. Pendred is naturally a welterweight and this bout is at 185lbs, so it will be interesting to see how his grappling style plays against King. Pendred’s pedigree has earned him a slight lean on the books, as he sits at -160 with the comeback on King at +150. The line is very similar in the middleweight division as Tor Troeng (16-5-1) goes up against Trevor Smith (11-5). Going just 1-2 in the UFC to this point and losing three of his past four overall, Smith could be at the end of his rope as far as his UFC future is concerned. Troeng likely has a bit more leeway as international fighters tend to hang around on the roster a bit longer, and he’s 1-1 in the promotion so far. A saving grace for both men is that this could end up a very entertaining bout. Smith put on a delightful brawl with Ed Herman not long ago, and Troeng was exciting in his defeat to Rafael Natal, so the combination could make for an entertaining fifteen minutes or less. Somehow, Nikita Krylov (16-4) and Cody Donovan (8-4) aren’t main event on this card. That’s how you know UFC Fight Night Dublin is great from top-to-bottom. At least this bout will have the designation of “the people’s main event,” and who could blame those people? This is the rare UFC matchup where fans simply can’t split the fighters, as the betting line is an exact pick ‘em at -105 on each side. That line is due to either of these fighters being able to finish the fight from anywhere (or, if we’re being serious for a second, the fact that either man could conceivably get finished at any point from any position in this bout). I’m not sure I’ve been as excited for a bout since Krylov made his much-anticipated (and now legendary) UFC debut against Soa Palelei. The opening bout in Dublin should get things off to a nice start for viewers around the world, if not necessarily the hometown fans. Flyweight Josh Sampo (11-3) brings his grappling heavy style to the Octagon for the third time against newcomer Patrick Holohan (9-0-1). Holohan has seven of his nine wins by submission, but will have been out of action for two years minus two days by the time he steps into the cage to face what is likely the biggest challenge of his career. Whether Holohan’s submission game is slick enough to trouble Sampo from his back will be the question here, as the Irish fighter is likely to end up there throughout this bout. With this being the first of three flyweight bouts to take place on the card, these two will want to set the tone for another exciting evening of MMA. UFC Fight Night 46 can be seen on UFC Fight Pass, with the preliminary card starting at 12:30pm ET and the main card kicking off at 3pm ET. Stay tuned to MMAOddsBreaker.com up until the fights for more preview, picks and analysis.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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