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UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao

For the second time this week, mixed martial arts fans will be treated to an action-packed card as the Ultimate Fighting Championship lands in Dublin, Ireland, for the first time in five years.

Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao comes live from the O2 Arena in Dublin, with preliminary bouts beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. local) and the main card kicking off at 3:00 p.m. ET (8:00 p.m. local).

The whole event will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

In the first UFC event in Dublin since UFC95 in January 2009, the main event sees Ireland’s own Conor McGregor go to battle with TUF alumnus Diego Brandão in a five-round featherweight contest.

McGregor vs. Brandao

Born in Dublin, ‘The Notorious’ Connor McGregor (14-2-0, 2-0-0 UFC) will have the opportunity to impress family, friends and the UFC brass on Saturday as he takes to the Octagon for the third time.

Ranked No. 12 in the UFC’s featherweight division, McGregor will be looking to make a statement in his first headline bout with the organization, and with 12 knockouts in 14 victories, he has the opportunity to do just that.

McGregor enters the bout having won 10 straight fights, including his first two contests in the UFC. In his debut with the company in April 2013 he earned a knockout victory over Marcus Brimage, before taking a unanimous decision from Max Holloway last August.

Having rehabbed a torn ACL over the past 11 months, the 26-year-old will look to make it a happy return to the Octagon.

Standing across the cage from the Irishman will be Brazil’s Diego Brandão (22-9-0, 4-2-0 UFC).

Brandão made headlines as he won season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter back in 2011, surviving a brutal barrage to force a submission of Dennis Bermudez. Since that fight, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist has gone 3-2, recording wins over Joey Gambino (decision), Pablo Garza (submission), and Daniel Pineda (decision).

Last time out (UFC168, December 2013), Brandão suffered a first round knockout defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier, his first bout on the main card of a pay-per-view event. Any jitters he might have suffered then will need to be forgotten as he headlines a UFC event for the first time.

McGregor and Brandão have serious knockout power, having KO’d a combined 21 fighters. Expect this one to turn into a slugfest. If Brandão can take it to the ground, he’ll have a serious advantage. He’s forced five submissions to McGregor’s one.

McGregor will have the home town advantage. He’s 8-2 when fighting in Ireland, and 6-2 in his hometown of Dublin. This will be Brandão’s first excursion to the Emerald Isle.

Odds: McGregor (-550) will be a heavy hometown favorite over Brandão (+375).

Nelson vs. Cummings

In the co-main event of the evening, Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson (12-0-1, 3-0-0 UFC) puts his undefeated record on the line as he battles American Zak Cummings (17-3-0, 2-0-0 UFC).

Nelson debuted in the UFC back in September 2012, submitting DaMarques Johnson with a rear-naked choke in the first round. He went on to record victories over Jorge Santiago (decision) and most recently Omari Akhmedov (submission). All three of those fights came in England, so the 25-year-old will be comfortable battling in Dublin.

After recording a draw in his professional debut, Nelson has won 12 straight fights. He’ll look to make it 13 on Saturday.

Cummings (17-3-0, 2-0-0 UFC) made his UFC debut back in August 2013, submitting Ben Alloway in a Submission of the Night performance. He followed that up with a decision victory over Yan Cabral in May.

Pretty much an unknown commodity in the welterweight division, Cummings is looking to make a name for himself and begin the long and laborious climb up the UFC rankings. Saturday’s bout gives him the opportunity to perform in a high-pressure main event situation. Make no bones about it, upsetting Nelson would be huge.

Nelson and Cummings have combined to record 16 submission victories and eight knockout victories. Expect this one to start hot and heavy before hitting the ground and becoming an jiu-jitsu struggle.

Nelson has made the relatively short trip from Iceland to Ireland on four occasions, and is 3-0 when fighting in Dublin. Cummings has only ever fought outside of the United States once, a 2011 loss in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Odds: Nelson (-600) will enter the bout as a heavy favorite over Cummings (+400).

In Brief

  • All 20 fighters involved in Saturday’s Fight Night event made weight at Friday’s official weigh-ins.
  • Fans of the most recent series of The Ultimate Fighter will want to catch the preliminary bout between Carthal Pendred and Mike King, both contestants on the show.
  • The flyweight matchup between Brad Pickett and Ian McCall, two local(ish) fighters has Fight of the Night written all over it.

Bet on UFC Fight Night: McGregor vs. Brandao

Your next dose of UFC action comes next Saturday as Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown go to war at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

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