BOSTON, August 17 – Highly touted Irish featherweight prospect Conor McGregor may not have picked up the Fight, Knockout, or Submission of the Night award many expected he would in his second Octagon fight against Max Holloway in UFC Fight Night action at the TD Garden Saturday night, but he did put together a solid night’s work in shutting out the always tough Hawaiian over three rounds.
The Dubliner picked up the victory, which followed his April knockout of Marcus Brimage, via scores of 30-27 twice and 30-26.
McGregor’s assault began with kicks to the head, body, and legs as the crowd chanted. The first big shot he landed was a right uppercut though, immediately getting his foe’s attention. The punch scored for him again moments later, and Holloway looked to be having trouble getting into any sort of rhythm as McGregor pushed the pace. By the end of the round, McGregor marched forward as if he had no respect for what was coming at him, and Holloway had no answers either.
The first three minutes of round two held more of the same for Holloway, as McGregor peppered him with punches and kicks before catching a kick from Holloway and taking him to the canvas. McGregor, who said after the fight that he injured his knee during this sequence, did stay active on the mat, eventually getting into side control just before the end of the frame.
Holloway came out with a greater sense of urgency in the final round, only to be taken down easily by McGregor. With a minute and a half gone, McGregor got the mount position but lost it quickly. He did retain top control though, soon getting the mount again, leading to some ground strikes before the two rose with a minute left. McGregor would keep things grounded in the final seconds though, as he landed one more takedown that put the exclamation mark on his victory.
With the win, McGregor improves to 14-2; Holloway falls to 7-3.
Check out Conor McGregor's post-fight interview
McDONALD vs. PICKETT
Michael McDonald got back in the win column in his first bout since a title fight loss to Renan Barao earlier this year, impressively showing off his standup and ground game before submitting fellow bantamweight contender Brad Pickett in the second round.
After just a few moments of feeling each other out, a slugfest broke out, with McDonald (16-2) doing much of the slugging, rocking and dropping Pickett several times. Remarkably though, just when it looked like referee Kevin McDonald would halt matters, Pickett would come to life, keeping himself in the bout. McDonald’s crisper and heavier shots were ruling the day, keeping Pickett (24-8) from mounting a serious offensive of his own.
Helped out by the 60 second break between rounds, Pickett got on the board in the second, landing some solid shots standing and doing good work on the mat as well. Yet just when it appeared the tide was turning, McDonald turned out the lights, locking in a triangle choke that forced Pickett to tap out at the 3:43 mark.
Check out Michael McDonald's post-fight interview
SILER vs. BROWN
Steven Siler spoiled the New England return of Maine’s Mike Brown in emphatic fashion, living up to his nickname “Super” by stopping the former WEC featherweight champion in a single round.
As the two 145-pound veterans got down to business on the feet, Siler (23-10) struck first and fast, dropping Brown with a right uppercut. Brown (26-9), who was fighting in his home region for the first time since 2004, looked to get his bearings back as soon as he hit the mat, but two more rights put him out, bringing in referee Yves Lavigne to stop the fight 50 seconds into the bout.
Check out Steven Siler's post-fight interview
BRANDAO vs. PINEDA
The Ultimate Fighter season 14 winner Diego Brandao continued his march up the featherweight ladder, earning an action-packed three round unanimous decision over Daniel Pineda.
All three judges saw it 29-28 for the Brazilian.
The two featherweights swung for the cheap seats like heavyweight sluggers, with Brandao clearly getting the better of the exchanges early in the first round. Pineda shook off each shot and came back swinging though, with the crowd roaring in appreciation. With less than two minutes left, Brandao scored a takedown to break things up, but he was unable to do much with the advantage, letting his foe back to his feet, where the two continued to battle it out at an impressively fast pace.
After beginning round two like the first, Brandao got a takedown and began to work from the mat, but Pineda fought well off his back and tried to lock in a submission before getting back to his feet. Brandao was determined to put his foe on the canvas, and he got his wish moments later with another takedown. This time, Pineda worked for a kimura and then used it to reverse position and get into the mount. Here, the Texan fired away with hard strikes as Brandao tried to defend. Eventually, he escaped the precarious spot and looked to lock up Pineda’s leg, but to no avail. At least he got enough daylight to make it to the bell and earn another round.
Brandao scored four takedowns in the final round, but was unable to do much with them, giving Pineda chance after chance to pull off something big as the clock ticked down, but it was Brandao getting the last word as he rocked his opponent with a punch to the face after a missed kick in the final minute that pretty much sealed the deal for him.
With the win, Brandao improves to 22-8; Pineda falls to 18-10.
Check out Diego Brandao's post-fight interview
GAMBURYAN vs. MILLER
The Ultimate Fighter five veterans Manny Gamburyan and Cole Miller met in an entertaining featherweight bout eked out by Gamburyan via close, but unanimous decision.
“I’m feeling great after getting the W,” said “The Anvil.” “You always feel good after winning a fight. It’s when you go home that you start to feel it. It was very hard being out for the last year due to injury and now that I’m healthy again I’m ready to go.”
“I thought the decision was way off,” said Miller. “I’m here in Boston trying to box, kick, knee, elbow, and play my game and I thought I would get some love from the judges here in Massachusetts. This is a fight town rich with boxing history. Respect to Manny. He fought his game and got the win. I’ll have to look at the tape but look at my face and look at his face, then tell me who won that fight.”
Scores were 30-27, and 29-28 twice for Gamburyan, now 15-8; Miller falls to 19-8
Known primarily for their groundfighting, Miller and Gamburyan opted for a standup battle for much of the first round, with Miller landing sharp shots from long range as Gamburyan scored with leg kicks while swinging for the fences upstairs. With less than 90 seconds left, Gamburyan changed the location of the bout with a thudding takedown, but by the end of the round, Miller was on his feet and landing hard shots at close range.
One shot at the bell rocked Gamburyan and delayed the start of the second round as the Octagonside doctors checked him out, but after being cleared to continue, the two resumed their scrap, with Gamburyan taking control on the mat from the top position despite being bloodied in the process. Miller kept battling back to his feet throughout, but Gamburyan was relentless in not letting the Georgia native get loose for too long. With 30 seconds left, Miller was able to break free to work his striking game until the bell.
Miller’s standup was sharp in the final round, both offensively and defensively, as he eluded the wild swings of “The Anvil,” yet after landing a flush knee, Miller got taken down by Gamburyan, who kept him there for the rest of the fight.
Check out Manny Gamburyan's post-fight interview.
ST. PREUX vs. DONOVAN
Light heavyweight prospect Ovince St. Preux quickly turned around what was looking to be a rough night against Cody Donovan, scoring a first round knockout victory.
Despite rocking St. Preux twice in the opening moments of the fight, Donovan decided to look for a takedown. And he got one, only to have St. Preux wind up on top as the fight hit the mat. From there, St. Preux opened up with ground strikes, knocking Donovan out at 2:07 of the opening frame.
With the win, OSP improves to 14-5; Donovan falls to 8-3.
Check out Ovince St. Preux' post-fight interview.
VICK vs. NIJEM
Known primarily for his striking, James Vick showed off some quality submission skills in the lightweight opener, forcing Ramsey Nijem to tap out early in the first round.
The win was the first in the UFC for Vick (5-0) who was sidelined by shoulder surgery after his stint on season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter.
With Nijem looking for a takedown almost immediately, Vick held off the attempt, slowly sinking in a guillotine choke that forced Nijem (8-4) to submit 58 seconds in.
Check out James Vick's post-fight interview.