Brash UFC featherweight Conor McGregor showed that he was ready for the biggest stage of his career at Fight Night 46 in Ireland. “The Notorious” delivered a stellar effort against Diego Brandao in front of his raucous supporters in Dublin by producing a first-round stoppage in their main event battle.
It was an outstanding display from McGregor in his first Octagon appearance since last August. He suffered a torn ACL in a unanimous decision victory against Max Holloway at Fight Night 26. There were huge expectations and big-time pressure on the Irish star to live up to the hype in his first headlining effort on home soil. He responded with a star-making performance and has been quick to emerge as one of the promotion’s brightest stars.
After a heated stare down at the weigh-in, both men carried that aggression over to deliver an action-packed start. Each combatant came out swinging and landed some solid punches. When the fight did finally hit the mat, McGregor was able to ward off a heel hook submission attempt from his opponent and get back to his feet to continue a stand-up battle.
McGregor would close the show in emphatic fashion late in the opening stanza after some body shots and a perfectly placed straight left hand that sent “DB” to the canvas. McGregor would follow up with ground-and-pound punches until the fight was halted at the 4:05 mark sending the crowd at O2 Arena into a frenzy.
The former Cage Warriors champion has now produced three straight Octagon victories including a pair of first-round stoppages. McGregor’s effort earned him a Performance of the Night bonus. He’s now riding an 11-fight win streak and has produced 13 knockouts in his 15 career victories. Brandao sustained his second consecutive first-round knockout loss.
Before this weekend’s matchup there had been rumblings that a McGregor victory might land him a fight against No.6 contender Dustin Poirier. Now that McGregor let his fists do the talking against Brandao, here’s hoping that matchmakers are able to make that clash a reality. “The Notorious” has expressed a desire to face Poirier at UFC 178 and it would be a tremendous addition to an already stacked card.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for RantSports.com