They call them the Fighting Irish for a reason.
Boston-born Dubliner Cathal Pendred first electrified the sellout crowd at the O2 Arena on Saturday with his Octagon walkout. Then the middleweight brought them to his feet again during the fight, as he shook off a 10-8 first round and submitted Mike King at 3:33 of the second at UFC Fight Night 46.
"This is all about believing in yourself and working hard," said Pendred. "This is where it pays off."
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King, a 30-year old from Ohio, was Pendred's Team Penn teammate on The Ultimate Fighter 19. He entered the bout with a 5-0 record, with all his victories finishes within the first two rounds.
He showed why in the first round, as he threw everything but the kitchen sink at Pendred. King dropped Pendred and began raining down hammerfists. When that failed to finish Pendred, he got Pendred into a tight choke, which Pendred escaped. King also got an armbar on Pendred, who managed to get to the end of what was likely a 10-8 round.
By the time the second round started, it was clear King had punched himself out in the first stanza. Pendred picked his spots, scored a takedown, and got King's back. Pendred put King out with a rear-naked choke, sending the Dublin crowd into a frenzy.
In his post-fight interview, Pendred referenced being in the crowd for the last UFC event in Ireland in 2009.
"I feel fantastic," said Pendred (14-2-1), who has won five straight fights. "I was sitting in the crowd five and a half years ago in 2009, in this very arena and I said to myself I'm going to fight here some time, I'm going to fight here next time the UFC is in Dublin."