Louis Smolka silenced a partisan crowd in Ireland. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com.
Louis Smolka has made it impossible to ignore his presence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight division.
The once-beaten Hawaiian withstood a spirited effort from Patrick Holohan and a partisan crowd to submit the Irishman with a second-round rear-naked choke in the UFC Fight Night “Holohan vs. Smolka” main event on Saturday at the 3Arena in Dublin. Holohan, who had never before finished, tapped the mat 4:09 into round two.
Outside of a split decision loss to Chris Cariaso in May 2014, Smolka has been flawless inside the Octagon. In three appearances since, the 24-year-old former Pacific Xtreme Combat champion has sandwiched finishes against Holohan and Richie Vaculik around a unanimous decision over Neil Seery. That Smolka cut down Holohan before a throng of his raucous countrymen made his latest victory all the more impressive and puts him in position to make a move on the 125-pound elite.
In the wake of UFC Fight Night “Holohan vs. Smolka,” here are six matches that ought to be considered:
Louis Smolka vs. Dustin Ortiz: Smolka has rattled off three consecutive victories inside a division where modest winning streaks have given rise to quick title shots. Growing confidence and still-developing well-rounded skills make the judo brown belt a definite person of interest at 125 pounds, a weight class perpetually in search of challengers for flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. A winner in seven of his past nine bouts, Roufusport’s Ortiz last appeared at a UFC Fight Night event on Aug. 8, when he stopped Willie Gates on third-round punches.
Patrick Holohan vs. Chico Camus: The homecoming for Holohan did not go according to plan. The SBG Ireland rep had Smolka in real danger in the second round, but the Hawaiian freed himself from back control, assumed top position and eventually forced Holohan to tap to a rear-naked choke. The defeat snapped a two-fight winning streak for Holohan, who entered the cage on the strength of back-to-back victories over Vaughan Lee and Shane Howell. Camus last competed at UFC Fight Night “Barnett vs. Nelson” on Sept. 26, when he wound up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision against Kyoji Horiguchi in Japan.
Norman Parke vs. James Krause: Parke fanned Reza Madadi’s flames with some pre-fight shenanigans and then went out and picked apart the Iranian-born Swede in their lightweight co-main event. The straight left and some excellent clinch work sent “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner to a 30-27 unanimous decision and allowed him to snap a two-fight losing streak. Krause made waves at UFC on Fox 16 in July, when he needed less than 90 seconds to submit Daron Cruickshank with a rear-naked choke.
Neil Seery vs. Justin Scoggins-Joby Sanchez winner: A former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder, Seery had the Irish faithful smiling with his second-round guillotine choke submission on Jon delos Reyes. The 36-year-old has won seven of his past nine fights and seems to be enjoying his time at the sport’s highest level for however long it lasts. Since arriving in the UFC in 2014, Seery has offset decision losses to Smolka and Brad Pickett with wins over Reyes, Chris Beal and Phil Harris. Scoggins and Sanchez will do battle at “The Ultimate Fighter 22” Finale on Dec. 11.
Tom Breese vs. Tim Means-John Howard winner: No fighter on the UFC Fight Night 76 roster was more impressive than the undefeated Breese, who blitzed the notoriously durable Cathal Pendred for a first-round technical knockout. The Tristar Gym-trained Brit battered and bloodied Pendred before closing the deal with a body kick and follow-up punches. Just 24 years of age, Breese has the look of a potential star at 170 pounds and figures to move quickly under trainer Firas Zahabi. Means will lock horns with Howard at UFC Fight Night “VanZant vs. Calderwood” on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas.
Darren Elkins vs. Clay Guida-Thiago Tavares winner: Some fighters have issues understanding their limitations. Others are keenly aware of them. Elkins falls in the latter category. A consummate grinder with a surprisingly strong resume at 145 pounds, the Duneland Vale Tudo mainstay wore down American Top Team’s Robert Whiteford with takedowns, ground-and-pound and positional advancements en route to a unanimous decision. Elkins now owns a 9-4 record in the UFC, including wins over Whiteford, Lucas Martins, Hatsu Hioki and Diego Brandao. Guida will face Tavares at UFC Fight Night “Belfort vs. Henderson” on Nov. 7 in Brazil.