Paddy Holohan on Kelades loss: “In my mind I’ve already learned from the mistakes”


After suffering his first professional loss to late replacement Chris Kelades at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs Saffiedine on October 4, Irish flyweight Paddy Holohan is taking nothing away from the Halifax native who took victory in their ‘Fight of the Night’ contest in front of his hometown crowd.

“It is what it is, when it’s done it’s done,” said Holohan. “Chris is a clever guy, he’s not a little hard head like some of the guys who are in this game. If the UFC were coming to my town and I was 7-1 and there was free bantamweight and flyweight fights on the card, I know I’d be getting ready. It turns out that he was too, fair play to him.”

Kelades stepped in to replace Louis Gaudinot on five days’ notice and Holohan was quite vocal when the American dropped out claiming that he didn’t want to take the fight given the momentum of the Irish scene. Nearly a month after the bout, Holohan maintains that he has forgotten about Gaudinot and will only refocus on him if they are matched again in the future.

“I heard he had pneumonia, that’s what I’ve heard now. I believe he’s scheduled for another fight now. He’s in the past, his name isn’t even in my vocabulary anymore. Unless he comes back into my cross hairs I could care less about him. At the time I felt he had pulled out because he didn’t want to deal with that fight.”

The Straight Blast Gym fighter highlighted some of the mistakes he believes he made on the night which he felt, had he reacted properly, would’ve won him the fight.

He said: “Sometimes you can have that sniper sight when you’re in there and that night I just didn’t have it, my accuracy was off, especially with submissions. I can remember I stood up after having his back in the first round when the round ended and I already knew the mistakes I had made. There was one error in particular at the end of that sequence, I just knew I’d messed it up.

“That was the first text I sent John after the fight. I should’ve got up onto my right elbow. It just happened and if I had got up there I felt I would’ve got the choke. He was fading at that stage, but he fought through it.

“There was another scramble in the second round where I was pushing off him to create a bit of pressure and I was pulling him into me. I stepped forward with my left leg instead of circling with it. There’s another little mistake, I ended up having to take my guard back. But I could’ve taken his back if I did it properly.

“I was trying to use Shawn Williams guard, I think that’s what it’s called. You kind of get an over hook behind your own leg but I didn’t have it perfect because my hip wasn’t out to the side and I wasn’t creating enough pressure on the shoulder.

“There’s just so much to take from the fight. I ticked a few boxes in there. It was a late replacement for an opponent, it was in a different country and it wasn’t John and Ais that are usually in my corner. There’s always boxes to be ticking and I’ll use this as fuel to grow.”

Between the second and third round of his bout with Kelades, Holohan had just taken a lot of punches as his counterpart rained down shots from the mount position. However, when the bell rang to bring a close to the round, Holohan had no stool to sit down on which forced Ais Daly to call for the prop from inside the Octagon. Although the situation looked quite calamitous as it was beamed around the world, Holohan maintained that he was able to recover for the third round accordingly.

“I’d say someone pulled a master stroke when they saw me mounted and hid that stool,” he laughed. “I’d like to meet that man because I would’ve done the same thing!

“Looking back on it I suppose my family were sitting there at home watching across the world, not having any connection with me when I was in a bit of trouble there. It wasn’t scary for me. It felt like I was overheated. I was telling the guys to cool me down. When I stood up it felt like I had gotten out of a hot bath.

“I just kind of stumbled. Even with the fitness part of it – fitness to me is the ability to go, go, go and then recover, recover, recover. Even after that when I looked terrible, I recovered enough for every round.

“Even with the little bit of pandemonium in round 2 – I couldn’t see my corner, I had people in my face – I still managed to say to myself, ‘this is us, let’s get our shit together and get back in there’. I’ll take that positive out of it as well.”

Holohan also commented on not having John Kavanagh in his corner who was on duty in Sweden as Gunnar Nelson and Cathal Pendred both took to the Octagon:

“It’s nothing to do with who or who wasn’t there – it’s just one of them things that happens. I haven’t really fought on my own before, I’m usually on a show with a few of my team mates.”

Commenting on Holohan and Nelson’s first professional losses, Irish sensation Conor McGregor insisted that ‘defeat is the secret ingredient to success’, and ‘The Hooligan’ couldn’t agree more.

“I think I can push on from this, that won’t happen again,” he claimed. “In my mind I’ve already learned from the mistakes. People always used to say to me, ‘what would you know, you haven’t lost a fight’. But I have lost things before that, it doesn’t always have to be about MMA.

“I know what it feels like to lose things and anytime I step in there I don’t want to lose. I know what Conor is saying, I’ve seen people come back from losses that have improved rapidly. I feel really motivated, I’m very happy in my life at the moment, I’m surrounded by puppies and Ed Sheeran songs – I’m having a nice little time.”

The Dubliner also spoke of how despite not having his hand raised, he still feels that a lot of positives can be taken from the exciting match-up.

“Not getting the win on the night, I look at that like a failure on my part. UFC is a fight business and it’s an entertainment business so in terms of Dana and Lorenzo – that fight was a great success for them. There are a lot of different outlooks I could have.

“I’ve proved to myself that I can stand with the guys in here. I did something that a lot of men wouldn’t be able to do – I looked inside myself when it was all going against me and fought on. I didn’t care if I’d fall flat on my face, I was going to move forward.

“I’d say it was great to watch on the other side of it. There’s this guy I know called Rory, he got on to me after the fight and he was saying ‘I loafed my telly over you’. This guy loafed his telly, that’s some reaction to be getting out of people!”

Finally, Holohan commented on when he thinks he will be back in action.

“As soon as possible I’ll be back in there. I’m in the gym grinding away. I enjoy this, I love fighting at this level – it’s brilliant. We are being treated really well, like professional athletes. I can’t complain,” he added.



Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.