UFC 137 Preview Part One: Dennis Siver vs Donald Cerrone

In a contest that will now headline the Spike TV portion of this ever shifting card, Dennis ‘The Menace’ Siver (19-7) will face Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone (16-3-1 NC) in a sure fire clash between two of the most exciting and aggressive strikers in the lightweight division.

Siver was originally expected to face Sam Stout, however the Canadian had to withdraw from the contest and so ‘The Menace’ will instead face the always game ‘Cowboy’ who once again answers UFC matchmaker Joel Silva’s call and steps in on just eight weeks notice.

Though Dana White would surely answer “in the mix”, it is difficult to comprehend quite where a win would place either fighter. Though a considerable step up in competition would likely await the winner, the lightweight division paints a convoluted picture and even more so since guys like Cerrone moved over following the WEC takeover. Regardless of its implications, the fans are likely to be rewarded with an entertaining war that has all the potential to win ‘Fight of the Night’ honors.

Siver is a former German kickboxing champion of Russian descent who emerged on the MMA scene back in 2004, in a host of small European promotions, most notably the UK outfit ‘Cage Warriors’ where the striking specialist began to hone his grappling skills. Of his nineteen career wins, twelve have come by submission and he has successfully made the transition into MMA by utilizing his powerful and compact frame, whilst gradually developing a solid ground game with formidable takedown defense.

One could be forgiven for labeling Cerrone’s Cowboy persona as merely an entertaining gimmick but the man hailing from Colorado Springs is the real deal, having moved to the ten acre “TapouT Ranch” in 2009 where he raises livestock in between training with best buddy and fellow ‘country boy’, UFC featherweight Leonard Garcia. Much like his next opponent, Cerrone began his career in kickboxing and went unbeaten in twenty nine Muay Thai bouts before switching to MMA. Since that move he has developed a thoroughly impressive ground game, incredibly winning his first nine bouts, fittingly, by way of tapout.

Having lost three of his first four fights in the UFC it appeared as though Siver’s time in the big leagues were over, but after a brief exile from the promotion he has never looked better and has won eight of his last nine contests, most notably against Spencer Fisher, George Sotiropoulos and Matt Wiman, by unanimous decision.

Cerrone is on quite a tear himself having won his last five contests, spanning from his revenge over bitter rival Jamie Varner at WEC 51, to his most recent defeat of Charles Oliveira which he took via ground and pound, earning the first TKO of his career and ‘Knockout of the Night’ honors in the process. The Greg Jackson trained fighter had helped produce some of the most memorable battles in WEC history, typified by his tremendous battle with Ben Henderson for the Lightweight Championship which many regard as the 2008 fight of the year.

Siver is not your typical striker, bringing a style to the octagon which is unorthodox by MMA standards, highlighted by his patented spinning back kick which he can unleash without warning. I anticipate the ‘German Juggernaut’ will be aggressive from the outset and attempt to entice Cerrone, who is a notoriously slow starter, into a war on the feet where he will feel he has the edge in raw knockout power.

Cerrone is a more traditional Muay Thai based striker and although his record has only one knockout to his name, he will be confident in his ability to dominate the fight wherever it takes place.

I expect the ‘Cowboy’ to start tentatively but finish strongly and find the submission in the third and final round.

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