Man, that was loud.
UFC Fight Night 46: "McGregor vs. Brandao" took place this past Saturday (July 19, 2014) from inside O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland, and after hosting two events in just four days, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) delivered the goods ahead of a massive free card next week.
In the main event, Conor McGregor looked outstanding in front of his hometown fans, stopping Diego Brandao in the first round. "Notorious" didn't look distraught by anything thrown at him, as both combatants engaged at a furious pace to get the action going.
After some tussling for takedowns, McGregor laced Brandao with a body shot, followed by a right hand that dropped "Ceara." It was smooth sailing from there, as the Irishman continued to pounce on his adversary until he was told to stop.
Gunnar Nelson lived up to his status as arguably best welterweight prospect around by submitting Zak Cummings in the second round. The Missouri-based fighter had a solid first round against the Icelandic combatant, but "Gunni" tapped the former Ultimate Fighter 17 (TUF) participant with a rear-naked choke in the second after some slick transitioning from a guillotine.
It should be noted that Cathal Pendred scored one of the most memorable comebacks in history on the "Prelims," choking out Mike King after nearly getting knocked out five times in the first round.
With that being said, it's time to round up the biggest winners and losers (and their runner ups) from the event in Dublin.
Biggest Winner -- Conor McGregor
To come back from a serious injury and demolish Brandao like that, McGregor deserves all the credit in the world.
Or, a top 10 opponent.
With the crowd roaring, McGregor got the win in front of his friends and family, looking fairly untroubled throughout the round and dealing with the pressure like a world-class fighter.
In all fairness, "Notorious" still needs a top-ranked opponent who is on a win streak, but putting the Brazilian away in less than five minutes is still quite impressive. He may have put him away in more impressive fashion than Dustin Poirier did at UFC 168.
McGregor is to Ireland what Georges St. Pierre is to Quebec, at the moment, and seeing how the fans nearly smothered him as he walked out of the Octagon, he's on the rise to become one of the top European stars in the sport. Maybe it could be said that Zuffa has the star they need in an era without GSP and Anderson Silva.
Soak it up for now, but the Irishman's work isn't done when considering him in a title fight. He could be close, yet it's time to give him someone dangerous to see what he can do in the near future.
But then again, if Gina Carano can come back after years of inactivity and acquire a title fight, it's not exactly out of the ordinary for "Notorious" to get a crack at the gold if he wins two more.
Runner Up -- Gunnar Nelson
It's strange, because Nelson didn't really do anything until he submitted Cummings.
The American won the first frame, and although both commentators were complimenting "Gunni" without the fighter really doing much, it looked as if Nelson was going to have to dig deep in the third round.
Nelson then took advantage of Cummings' mistake and transitioned from a guillotine into a rear-naked choke, while landing some big strikes to the face and body.
Everyone is ranting and raving about the Icelandic fighter, and he deserves merit for his performance. Still, he needs a top 10 opponent -- just like the main event winner -- to truly prove the eagle has landed.
But it's looking good for "Gunni."
He toppled Cathal Pendred as the runner up, simply because Nelson has a little more upside when it comes to his immediate future, but it was still a tough decision to make. The "Punisher" currently has the comeback of the year under his belt so far, but Nelson just decided to end his fight out of nowhere, too.
Biggest Loser -- Diego Brandao
He was the underdog, and most expected him to lose, but at least Brandao showed up on enemy territory and did his best.
After all that trash talk, Brandao was on the wrong end of everything he said he was going to do to his opponent, losing his second fight in a row due to strikes.
Falling in a main event is bad enough, since everyone usually remembers the headlining fight over the others, yet the way "Ceara" lost was pretty dreadful if you were pulling for him.
It's a tough pill to swallow for the first Brazilian TUF winner, and he hasn't really lived up to expectations. One more lopsided loss, and the promotion will need to figure out if he's worth keeping for those Wednesday night Brazil cards.
UFC doesn't need to flip the switch and cut him right away, but if Brandao can't focus on putting together a good performance in his next bout, the termination notice could be fresh out of the printer with his name on it.
Runner Up -- Brad Pickett
After witnessing the highly anticipated flyweight battle pitting McCall against Pickett, it's safe to say maybe their three-round bout wasn't exactly filled with dynamite.
McCall opted to use a strategy of landing on the inside, and getting out right away. Both athletes tried to take each other down, and ultimately, "One Punch" came up short.
This isn't to say McCall deserves the flyweight title fight right away (even though he'd probably be the best fit as a challenger), but Pickett couldn't get it together in Ireland. He couldn't adjust to McCall's style, and looked disoriented while trying to land that one knockout punch throughout the fight.
Since he's definitely out of the title picture for the time being, it begs to ask why some feel Pickett is regarded as an elite fighter; or at least on some divisional top 10 lists. He's a solid opponent for anyone, but he's also 2-3 in his last five fights, and the 125-pound division may not be the best place to conduct his business.
That just about does it.
For extensive coverage of UFC Fight Night 46: "McGregor vs. Brandao," including video highlights, post-fight recaps, and more, click here.