The UFC’s next trip to Dublin will be interesting, as it will be the first card since the sport truly expanded in the country without Conor McGregor. The locals will certainly still be out in force at the 3Arena to cheer on the likes of Joseph Duffy, Paddy Holohan, Norman Parke, Neil Seery, Aisling Daly, and Cathal Pendred, but there may not be that over-the-top feeling from last July’s trip to The O2 Arena. Also, Ireland, please get better names for your arenas. The aforementioned Duffy — who is also the last man to defeat McGregor — will be competing in his first UFC main event, as he takes on Dustin Poirier. For Duffy, this is a massive step up from the likes of Jake Lindsay and Ivan Jorge, both of whom he dispatched with ease. Duffy has shown dangerous striking and grappling thus far in the UFC, and he is looked upon as one of the brightest hopes for Irish MMA outside of McGregor. Despite being a year younger than Duffy, Poirier has been here before. He has more experience in MMA, has faced better competition, and has main evented a show before. Most of that career came while Poirier was fighting at 145, where he found enough success to climb into the top 10 of the division, but couldn’t advance any further. Now fighting at 155 with a pair of first round knockouts under his belt, Poirier looks ready to make a run to the top of another division in the UFC. The betting odds for the main event and entire main card of the UFC Fight Pass broadcast have been released since back in August, which has given them plenty of time to settle. Somewhat surprisingly Duffy is a -245 favorite over his higher-ranked, more experienced foe. The comeback on Poirier is +205. Stipe Miocic has been installed as a -335 favorite over Ben Rothwell in the co-main event, while Nicolas Dalby and Louis Smolka find themselves as very slight favorites against Darren Till and Paddy Holohan. MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened the betting lines today for the remainder of the UFC Fight Night 76 card via 5Dimes Sportsbook. Take a look: ——————– MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 4pm ET) Joseph Duffy -185 Dustin Poirier +145 Over 1.5 -155 Under 1.5 +115 — Stipe Miocic -300 Ben Rothwell +220 Over 2.5 -130 Under 2.5 -110 — Nicolas Dalby -150 Darren Till +110 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 — Louis Smolka -130 Paddy Holohan -110 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 ——————– PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 12:45pm ET) Norman Parke -210 Reza Madadi +160 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 — Stevie Ray -270 Mickael Lebout +190 Over 2.5 -230 Under 2.5 +170 — Neil Seery -185 Jon Delos Reyes +145 Over 2.5 -155 Under 2.5 +115 — Scott Askham -130 Krzysztof Jotko -110 Over 2.5 -190 Under 2.5 +150 — Aisling Daly -125 Ericka Almeida -115 Over 2.5 -210 Under 2.5 +160 — Tom Breese -135 Cathal Pendred -105 Over 2.5 -175 Under 2.5 +135 — Darren Elkins -180 Robert Whiteford +140 Over 2.5 -180 Under 2.5 +140 — Bubba Bush -245 Gareth McLellan +175 Over 2.5 -135 Under 2.5 -105 ——————– Brad’s Analysis: I think Stevie Ray is one of the best fighters in the UK right now, and he’s been getting the type of matchups that make me believe that the UFC agrees. Mickael Lebout is a perfectly serviceable fighter, but I can’t see anything he does that will trouble Ray. On the feet, the Scot throws cleaner and hits harder. He’s the better wrestler, and Lebout’s grappling style translates well to not getting finished in the UFC, but he’s also not capable of doing much from his back. Give me Ray in a wide decision. Neil Seery usually has fun fights, and Jon Delos Reyes usually has fun fights. Neither guy is particularly good defensively, which is often a common denominator in entertaining MMA. That puts me at a bit of a loss as to who I think will win here, but I think I’ll side with the veteran Seery. Delos Reyes does have a tendency to fade later in fights, and Seery is very difficult to put away. That adds up to Seery taking over in the second half of the fight following a very competitive first half. In his last bout, Scott Askham flashed some of the KO power that had people excited about him coming into the UFC. I don’t think that will be enough for him to get past Jotko however. Askham is the better striker here, but he invites the clinch a bit too much for my liking against a grinder like Jotko, and I think we see lots of Askham up against the fence and transitional wrestling positions en route to a decision for the underrated Pole. I keep waiting for Aisling Daly to revert to the fighter who seemed overwhelmed in some of her Cage Warriors bouts, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. That said, I think Almeida gives her plenty of trouble in this one. Almeida was not well-equipped for Julianna Lima’s positional top control game, but Daly is more open with her submission attempts, and that means even if Almeida is on the bottom, she’ll have opportunities to move and scramble that simply weren’t there in her UFC debut. I think she takes advantage of enough to at least win a decision, if not find a submission of her own.
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