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Watch: Debut defeat for Richie Smullen as Pena takes first round win on The Ultimate Fighter Finale

Richie Smullen’s octagon debut ended in defeat at the hands of Luis Pena, but it’s not likely to be the last we see of the Arklow man in the UFC.

Luis Pena (L) v Richie Smullen (R). Screen grab: UFC Fight Pass
Luis Pena (L) v Richie Smullen (R). Screen grab: UFC Fight Pass

Arklow’s Richie Smullen has made his UFC debut, the first for an Irish man since 2016.

Unfortunately for Smullen (3-1-1), it ended in defeat within the first round.

Smullen, taking on Luis Pena (5-0) on The Ultimate Fighter 27 finale card at the Palms’ Pearl Theatre in Las Vegas, started strongly but finished on the wrong side of a guillotine at 3:32 in Round 1.

Taking things to the ground early in the round, Smullen showed great composure and control in the early exchanges.

A submission specialist in his own right, he was unlucky not to latch on to two heel hook attempts, including this one midway through the round.

However, when the fight got back to its feet, Pena used his height and reach advantage well to drop Smullen at the midway point, going on to secure top mount and finish with the guillotine submission. Watch it back below.

With a performance of the night bonus too, Pena moves to 5-0, undefeated in his pro career, while the loss hands Smullen his first taste of defeat, moving to 3-1-1.

That drawn fight came against Rhys McKee at BAMMA 30 in July 2017, one of the best and most electric bouts on the Irish scene for that year.

Irish MMA fans will be hopeful it’s not the last we see of Smullen, who had missed his chance to compete in the house stages due to medical withdrawal.

We’ll leave it to John Kavanagh for the final word.

Radio broadcaster, podcaster, fight fan cutting his teeth in BJJ. Slowly building MMA Charge. Known to write a lot about rugby, GAA and all things food.

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