Louis Smolka silenced a boisterous Dublin crowd and won their respect in one gritty encounter with Paddy Holohan.
The Hawaiian forced The Hooligan to tap out in their main event fight, last month, after battling out of a couple of the Irishman’s submission attempts.
Interviewed on this week’s MMA Hour, Smolka revealed how close he came to allowing the hometown hero to get the victory.
“Honestly,” he said, “I wish I didn’t let him get to my back. That was one of the things we were working on but he got to my back. That was a little upsetting for me… but I was able to keep my calm and work my way out of it, which was good.”
Smolka added, “[Holohan] came out sprinting at me… He came out looking for take-downs and I guess he couldn’t hold the pace.”
Asked by host Ariel Helwani if Holohan ever got close to locking in that rear naked choke, Smolka said, “He never really had it under my chin. I had my chin down the whole time.
“It was just positioning. If he had stayed there the whole time, I would have lost.”
The flyweight reveals there was a moment in the fight that almost cause him to lose complete focus.
“There was one point,” he said, “where [Holohan] had my back. I rolled over and I could see Conor McGregor screaming – ‘Hit him in the body, hit him in the body!’
“I was like “What?’ because it was odd. I ended up getting hit in the face, right after, and I was like ‘Right, I’ve got to get back to this’.”
Smolka did get back to it and submitted Holohan soon after.