Paddy Holohan saw “craters” in Louis Smolka’s game at UFC 189

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Fresh of his dominant unanimous decision win over Vaughan Lee at UFC Glasgow, there was only one flyweight on Paddy Holohan’s mind as he declared interest in a meeting with Louis Smolka in his post-fight interview.

Also revealed after the bout was the fact that ‘The Hooligan’ had sustained an injury to his ankle in the lead up to the Scottish card. Although the Dubliner isn’t sure of the extent of the injury, he was adamant that it would not affect his chances of fighting at UFC’s Dublin event on October 24.

“I have to get it scanned, I’ll get it checked now,” said Holohan. “We rolled when we got out to Glasgow and it was swollen by the time we went out to fight. There’s not a chance that it will keep me off of this card in October. You know me, I’d tape the thing on and swing it at my opponents head if I had to.”

As for Smolka, Holohan said that he hasn’t seen gaps in the Hawaiian’s game, but rather “massive crevasses” that he believes would put him at a significant advantage should the two face off. Considering Smolka’s performance against his fellow Irish flyweight Neil Seery at UFC 189, Holohan is confident that he could have finished him if he had been put in some of the situations ‘2 Tap’ found himself in.

“I didn’t see gaps, I saw craters – massive crevasses. If he grappled with me the same way he grappled with Neil, he’s dead. It’s as simple as that. That’s 100 percent. I know if I had his neck the way Neil did – Neil’s back was square to the mat, I would’ve been on my right hip. I would have had my elbow buried and I would’ve had my left hook in getting ready to turn him over. At least, had I got the guillotine I would’ve ended up in mount. That much is for sure.

“When you look at our games, I just think I’m a better version of him. I think in terms of striking, I hit harder than him. If you look at his body the evidence is there as well, his muscle mass and things like that, he hasn’t filled into a man yet. I’m not taking anything away from him, he’s a good fighter and he has his record. He can fight, he comes willing to fight, he has that Hawaiian chip on his shoulder and I’m looking forward to this fight happening.

“He wouldn’t have even registered with me but he was saying something on Twitter not too long ago and it kind of caught me off guard. I think the fight makes sense, I’m 3-1 with UFC and he’s the same – it just makes sense.”

Famed for his grappling prowess, there have been stark improvements in Holohan’s striking in each of his Octagon outings. Commenting on the development of that particular skill set, ‘The Hooligan’ indicated that the main issue is getting comfortable enough in the moment to execute the various techniques.

The SBG fighter highlighted that he wanted to showcase his striking against Lee due to the Brit’s previous success in that aspect of the sport. He also revealed that he wasn’t too impressed with his own striking on the night and underlined that he still has a “million miles” left to travel in terms of developing his entire game.

“My striking level is good, it’s always been more about comfort levels for me in the Octagon. Sometimes you’re moving around in there and you can see the takedown, you just go for it so you can get the job done. Against Vaughan Lee, I wanted to stand there. Vaughan’s got really good striking, I think he holds records in the UFC and WEC for landing the most strikes in a round or something.

“It’s things like that that people get on to you about,” he laughed. “What are you gonna do? He landed the most strikes in a round? These are the stupid little things that people say to us, but these stupid little things stick in our heads! His stand up is pretty decent but to be honest, I watched the fight back last night and I wasn’t too happy with how I did on my feet.

“I was throwing kicks but I wasn’t throwing them into the movement that he was giving me. I was throwing head kicks but I wasn’t faking with my hands to make him slip a certain way before I threw it.

“There are leaps and bounds to come with my game, there are a million more miles of development. I’m better than that Paddy Holohan you saw in Glasgow already. I’m not going to be too hard on myself, I’m proud of myself and I’m proud of my performance the other night, but there is always room for improvement. It’s a good thing that I look back on these performance and think – ‘what was I thinking doing that?’

“I know there are better techniques, higher percentage techniques, that I could be using in some of these situations. There was one time in that fight that I could’ve won had I been more decisive. John shouted it in to me, it was when I had the triangle – there was a point during that sequence that I should’ve went for the armbar. It was sitting there for me but I was too comfortable with the triangle, it’s like I was emotionally attached to the move. We learn and we move on.”

@PetesyCarroll

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.