Grading UFC Fight Night 76

 Darren-Till 2“Grading the card’’ is an article written by Mike James after every major UFC and Bellator event. Every main card fight and the fight card itself is briefly discussed and given a letter grade. This article covers UFC Fight Night 76, which took place Saturday night from the O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland.   Louis Smolka vs Paddy Holohan Injuries to fighters in the main and co-main events caused Smolka and Holohan to be thrusted into the main event. Although the card lost much of its star power, these two flyweights put on a great fight that featured several back and forth grappling exchanges and near finishes. Holohan was the aggressor from the outset and was able to take Smolka down and secure back mount a few times. However, Smolka never worried and waited for his opportunity to spin into Holohan’s guard. Once he was able to do that Smolka rained down vicious ground that almost caused the referee to stop the fight. However, Holohan gave up his back and Smolka was able to sink in a fight ending rear-naked choke. Fight Grade: B+   Norman Parke vs Reza Madadi This was a typical Norman Parke victory. He will stuff takedowns, throw a few straight left hands, and do enough to win a decision. He is not exactly the most exciting or popular fighter on the roster. His opponent, Madadi, had not fought in the UFC since early 2013 due to being convicted for grand larceny in Sweden. Madadi looked old and slow, yet Parke showed no urgency to try to finish the fight. Fight Grade: D-   Darren Till vs Nicolas Dalby These two warriors put on the fight of the night and each was given a $50,000 check for their performance. Early on it appeared that Till was running away with the contest, as his straight left hand from a southpaw stance constantly found its mark. He dropped Dalby at the very end of the first round with a well-timed uppercut but the bell rang before Till could move in for the kill. The second round was not as eventful, but it was another clear round for the 22 year old Till. However, things changed dramatically in the third round. Dalby, knowing he was down on the cards, came out for the third round with a sense of urgency. This was also the same time that Till gassed out and was pretty much a punching bag for much of the round. The referee seemed to be on the verge of stepping in on several occasions, but Till managed to fight back just enough to make it to the end of the round. The fight was scored a majority draw, as two judges gave a 10-8 to Dalby in the third round. One judge scored the fight 29-28 for Till, which baffles me because I do not know how you do not give Dalby a 10-8 third round. This fight was worth the $9.99 price for Fight Pass alone and I would like to see these two fighters meet again sometime down the road. Fight Grade: A-   Neil Seery vs Jon Delos Reyes Another good fight on this card was Neil Seery vs Jon Delos Reyes, who are two underappreciated and hard hitting flyweights. They started throwing heavy leather as soon as the first round began. Seery’s superior technique and footwork allowed him to win the majority of the exchanges, but Delos Reyes got his fair share of licks in as well. Further, Delos Reyes also scored a few takedowns and did some solid work in the clinch. The second round was more of the same, with both fighters exchanging heavy punches in the pocket and Delos Reyes attempting a few takedowns. Seery almost locked in a guillotine early in the second round but Delos Reyes was able to escape. However, Delos Reyes went to the well one too many times and Seery caught Delos Reyes in a tight arm-in guillotine as Delos Reyes shot in for a takedown. The choke forced the Guam native to tap out with less than a minute left in the second round. Overall, it was another very entertaining fight. Fight Grade: B   Fight Night 76 Card: This event lacked star power but it made up for it with several entertaining, back and forth fights. There were also a great performances on the undercard from Tom Breese, who effortlessly starched Ireland’s own Cathal Pendred. The other fights on the preliminary card were not great but expectations were low for those fights. The main card is what people come to see and it absolutely delivered, though not in the way the Irish fans in attendance wanted. Everyone was obviously disappointed the main and co-main events were cancelled due to injuries, but the fans still got their money’s worth. Overall UFC Fight Night 76 Grade (Main Card Only): B+

Written by Mike James

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