Surging featherweight contenders collide in the opening bout of the UFC 162 main card on Saturday night.
Cub Swanson puts on his game face at UFC on Fox 2. —Photo by Paul Thatcher.
You always hear about the main event.
The dueling competitors are always front-and-center on the fight poster, starring on Countdown, and holding court during media calls and press conferences. They are the stars of the show from the day the bout is announced until the winner’s hand is raised.
In most cases, you hear about the co-main event as well. The penultimate fight of the night gets the “Also Starring” role on Countdown, and depending on the size of the headlining act, they could find themselves on the poster, the media call, and garnering a fair share of attention heading into fight night.
With every card, there is that one fight that kind of sneaks up on you; the fight that steals the show and leaves everyone wondering why it wasn’t given more attention in the lead-up to the event.
For every major UFC card, Under the Radar will try to uncover that fight, introduce you to the parties involved, and let you know in advance why you’re going to want to be paying close attention when this particular fight hits the cage.
CUB SWANSON VS. DENNIS SIVER
Cub Swanson (19-5, 4-1 UFC)
- Streak: Four consecutive victories
Last Fight: d. Dustin Poirier, Unanimous Decision – UFC on Fuel TV: Barao vs. McDonald (February 2013)
Notable victories: Poirer, Charles Oliveira, Ross Pearson
Dennis Siver (21-8, 10-5 UFC)
- Streak: Two straight wins
Last Fight: d. Nam Phan, Unanimous Decision – UFC on FOX 5 (December 2012)
Notable victories: Phan, Diego Nunes, Matt Wiman
Why We Love This Fight
Where should I begin?
First, this fight will have serious impact on the featherweight title picture, regardless of who emerges victorious. Over the last year and change, the 145-pound weight class has become one of the deepest and most competitive divisions in the UFC, and both Swanson and Siver are in the thick of the title chase.
Swanson, who graced the cover of the May issue of Fight! Magazine, finally seems to be putting it all together, earning three straight knockout victories prior to taking a decision win against Poirier back in February. Siver, on the other hand, has looked extremely sharp since dropping down to featherweight after his run towards the top of the lightweight division stalled on the fringes of contention.
Ranked #6 and #7 respectively in the latest FIGHT! Magazine Rankings, the winner of this one should find themselves standing opposite another top 5 opponent next time out, with a place on the short list of potential title challengers going to the winner.
Secondly, there is a very strong likelihood that this ends up being the most exciting fight on the card this weekend.
To borrow a phrase from noted MMA wordsmith Nick Diaz, Siver likes to “throw spinning s***,” including a picture-perfect spinning back kick that is capable of ending the fight when it lands. He’s built like a fire hydrant, but is deceptively quick for his stature, and never stops throwing strikes.
Last time out against Phan, the Russian-born, Mannheim, Germany-based kickboxer threw 389 total strikes, connecting with 128 of 273 significant strikes while adding in two takedowns for seasoning.
Swanson might have the cleanest, most technical boxing south of welterweight, something he’s worked diligently to hone, training alongside long-time friend and WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley. He’s not just technical either; “Killer Cub” packs a wallop, as his finishes of Oliveira, Pearson, and George Roop showed.
The 29-year-old Palm Springs native is also slick on the ground, with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a very good submission game to fall back on if throwing hands doesn’t do the trick.
Finally, when’s the last time a really good featherweight fight let you down? Seriously.
The tenured contenders are pissed off that Frankie Edgar and Anthony Pettis jumped to the head of the line for title shots without ever making 145 the day before a fight, and the up-and-coming talent is sick of the focus always being on the former lightweights and long-standing threats like Chad Mendes and “The Korean Zombie.”
Whenever these guys step in the cage, they’re looking to make an impression. They’ve got the motors to work at a breakneck pace from start-to-finish, and the power to make a fight turn on a dime.
Swanson and Siver are going to put on a show at UFC 162, and the winner is going to be “in the mix” as Dana White likes to say.
Sounds to me like the kind of fight that deserves more attention, and one that you might just want to pay close attention to on Saturday night.