Cub Swanson has finished three of his last four opponents. | Photo: D. Mandel/Sherdog.com
Dennis Siver (21-8, 10-5 UFC) vs. Cub Swanson (19-5, 4-1 UFC)
The Matchup: Swanson has won four fights in a row since debuting in the UFC with a loss to Ricardo Lamas at UFC on Fox 1, besting George Roop, Ross Pearson, Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier to firmly establish himself as a person of interest in the division. While three of those triumphs -- Roop, Pearson and Oliveira -- were dominant, the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts product survived a hard-fought battle with Poirier at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Relying on his superior speed, Swanson worked the body effectively with kicks and punches before sealing the victory with a pair of takedowns in the third stanza.
Siver, a former lightweight, has gone 2-0 since dropping to 145 pounds. The Russian-born German dissected Nam Phan in his most recent outing at UFC on Fox 5, relying on a versatile offensive attack to cruise to a lopsided unanimous decision victory. Prior to beating Phan, Siver debuted at featherweight with a three-round verdict over the previously world-ranked Diego Nunes at UFC on Fuel TV 2. In a suddenly deep division, the winner remains on track for a shot at 145-pound gold. However, with Lamas also a worthy No. 1 contender, there are no guarantees that such an opportunity will come immediately.
Siver’s aggressive kickboxing figures to match up nicely with Swanson’s take-no-prisoners approach, with both fighters offering a well-rounded arsenal on the feet. Siver generates plenty of power from his stocky frame and is well-versed in varying his kicks to the legs, body and head. He is not afraid to get flashy, either, as the spinning back kick has become one of his trademark moves.
While Siver might have the edge in terms of sheer physical strength, Swanson is faster and more athletic. The Palm Springs, Calif., native’s boxing has improved significantly in recent outings, and he lands punches with power and accuracy. Swanson also will mix up his attacks with flashy spinning and high kicks.
If Siver struggles with his opponent’s quickness and movement, he can try to outmuscle Swanson in clinches. There, Siver can slow down the tempo of the fight and punish the World Extreme Cagefighting veteran with knees. Swanson displayed good takedown defense against Poirier, but if Siver, who averages less than one takedown per 15 minutes, somehow ends up in top position, the American has an active guard and will look to create scrambles and escape from his back. Swanson is probably more likely than Siver to shoot, however, as he averages slightly more than two takedowns per 15 minutes.
The Pick: Neither man will hesitate to exchange, which gives this bout “Fight of the Night” potential. The key will be Swanson’s quickness and his ability to land punching combinations while moving in and out of Siver’s range. Swanson wins by decision or late TKO.
Next Fight » Roger Gracie vs. Tim Kennedy