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Dublin: 4°C Friday 25 September 2020

There's plenty of Irish interest as the UFC makes a return to Scotland today

UFC Fight Night 113 will be headlined by the meeting of Gunnar Nelson and Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Gunnar Nelson celebrates winning Gunnar Nelson Source: Rodrigo Romos/INPHO

WHILE THE EYES of the vast majority of mixed martial arts fans have been fixed on boxing press conferences this week, the next event on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s calendar has subsequently flown under the radar.

The line-up for UFC Fight Night 113 may not be packed with big names, but there’s still plenty of interest from an Irish perspective in this evening’s card, which will be hosted by the SSE Hydro Arena as the organisation returns to Glasgow for the first time since July 2015.

Charlie Ward gets a second opportunity to show if he’s worthy of being on the roster of MMA’s leading organisation, Neil Seery fights for the final time before retreating into retirement, and adopted Irishman Gunnar Nelson tops the bill as he aims to take another step towards welterweight title contention.

Currently ranked eighth in the 170lbs division, Nelson will be looking for his third consecutive victory when he faces Santiago Ponzinibbio, who’s ranked 14th on the back of four consecutive wins. Nelson, who hails from Iceland but trains regularly at Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, will have John Kavanagh in his corner for his clash with the 30-year-old Argentine.

For Neil Seery, the journey as a professional mixed martial artist comes to an end this evening, 12 years after it began. It’s set to be third time lucky for the veteran Finglas native, who turns 38 next month.

Ian McCall and Neil Seery Neil Seery Source: Presseye/Brian Little/INPHO

Seery announced his intention to retire last year but a farewell bout against Ian McCall fell through on separate occasions in November and February. Instead, 14th-ranked flyweight Alexandre Pantoja has the honour of the being the last man to share the octagon with him.

After making his UFC debut with a split-decision win against Eric Shelton in January, Pantoja — who hasn’t lost a fight in over seven years — will be looking for his 11th win on the trot in total. The bout also provides Seery with a chance to sign off by getting the better of an opponent ranked in the top 15 for the first time in his career.

John Kavanagh’s first assignment this evening will be to attempt to guide Charlie Ward to victory against debutant Galore Bofando. The SBG welterweight has a point to prove after being outclassed during a debut defeat to Abdul Razak Alhassan in November which lasted just 53 seconds.

This is by no means a star-studded card, but if you’re hoping for fireworks beyond the Irish interest, we recommend making sure that you’re tuned in for the lightweight bout between Stevie Ray and Paul Felder, which has the makings of a thriller.

Charlie Ward in action against Abdul Razak Alhassan Charlie Ward Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

UFC Fight Night 113

Main card (BT Sport — 8pm)

Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Stevie Ray vs. Paul Felder
Jack Marshman vs. Ryan Janes
Khalil Rountree vs. Paul Craig
James Mulheron vs. Justin Willis

Prelims (BT Sport and UFC Fight Pass — 6pm)

Danny Roberts vs. Bobby Nash
Alexandre Pantoja vs. Neil Seery
Charlie Ward vs. Galore Bofando
Danny Henry vs. Daniel Teymur

Early prelims (UFC Fight Pass — 5pm)

Brett Johns vs. Albert Morales
Leslie Smith vs. Amanda Lemos

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Paul Dollery

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