Rising prospects Conor McGregor and Andy Ogle will bring the long and storied Ireland vs. the United Kingdom rivalry stateside when the two featherweights face off in Boston this August.
While their nations' prides will definitely be on the line, the pair of up-and-comers will also look to solidify their standings in the 145-pound division when they square off at the UFC's first event on Fox Sports 1.
In his UFC debut this past April, Irishman McGregor had the MMA world buzzing with his brutal first-round finish of Marcus Brimage at UFC on Fuel 7. "Notorious" will look to continue his rapid rise when he makes his U.S. debut opposite Ogle, who enters this fight following a decision win over Josh Grispi in February, the The Ultimate Fighter alum's first win with the promotion.
As two of Europe's finest prepare for their summer showdown at the TD Garden, let's take a look at how this bout breaks down.
A heavy-handed featherweight with 12 career knockouts, McGregor will have a huge advantage standing up.
The Irishman completely dominated Marcus Brimage during their battle in Sweden earlier this year, as "Notorious" took just over a minute to finish the TUF alum with strikes.
McGregor likes to utilize unorthodox techniques to throw off his opponents before blasting them with his explosive punching combinations, making him a deadly guy to stand and bang with.
While Ogle is a decent striker, McGregor is on another level and will likely overwhelm the Englishman should they decide to keep this fight standing.
In terms of pure grappling, Ogle will have a slight advantage over McGregor in this matchup.
The Englishman isn't shy about going to the ground and is quite comfortable on the mat, as seen in his last fight against Josh Grispi. Ogle loves to grind on opponents from the top position and also has solid takedown and clinch skills.
However, "The Little Axe" does tend to get himself into precarious positions on the ground from time to time and was nearly choked out by Grispi during the opening frame of their battle this past February.
We haven't seen much of McGregor's grappling yet, but "Notorious" also possesses solid top control and great ground-and-pound skills. While I believe that Ogle has a slight edge in the grappling department, if he gives McGregor even the smallest opening, expect the Irishman to capitalize on it.
Neither fighter boasts that many submissions on their records, but Ogle will again have a slight edge in this department.
The TUF alum, who has three career wins via sub, showed he can finish fights on the ground during his stint on the UFC's long-running reality show. He upset Mike Rio with a rear-naked choke in their quarterfinal matchup.
McGregor, a bona fide knockout artist, understandably only has one tap out win on his resume. What's interesting is that the Irishman's two career losses are by submission.
While it's highly unlikely to end up there, Ogle's best chance at beating McGregor is on the ground.
It's hard to say who has the overwhelming edge here as both men are pretty evenly matched in this department.
McGregor has only left the first round three times in his career and none of his bouts have gone past the second frame. "Notorious" will definitely be the more explosive and powerful fighter.
Ogle, on the other hand, has shown that he can go the distance and has solid cardio. I expect the Englishman to gain an advantage over McGregor if he starts to tire in the later rounds—if it gets that far.
After such an impressive UFC debut, McGregor will have all eyes on him when he finally comes stateside in August.
Thus far, "Notorious" hasn't let his new found MMA stardom go to his head and will hopefully continue on that track going into this fight.
As long as McGregor doesn't let the pressure of his sophomore UFC effort get to him, I think that he will easily take this fight.
It's clear that Ogle is not the favorite in this fight.
McGregor has a better overall skill set and will have the fans behind him when the Octagon doors close at the TD Garden, so it's really his match to lose.
But don't count the Englishman out completely just yet.
Ogle will have a slight edge on the ground and could very well steal this fight if McGregor gets sloppy and let's him sneak in a few sub attempts.
It will be interesting to see how Ogle responds to being the underdog.
While I'm certain that his bout is going to be filled with fireworks, I also believe that it's going to be a one-sided affair.
The surging McGregor is clearly the better overall athlete and has a huge advantage in the striking department.
As long as he can keep the fight standing and stop Ogle's takedowns, it will be another quick night for the Irishman.
Prediction: McGregor via TKO (Round 1).