Donald Cerrone will face Dennis Siver at UFC 137, and most expect a barnburner.
Prior to headliner Georges St. Pierre suffering a knee injury and pulling out of his welterweight title defense against Carlos Condit, UFC 137 was arguably the most exciting card of the fall. Instead, the promotion thrusts Nick Diaz back into the main event after initially removing him from that spot for two missed media appearances. Emanating from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, UFC 137 still holds some real intrigue in both the main and preliminary draws despite losing its blockbuster. Here are five reasons to watch the prelims, which air live on the UFC’s Facebook page and on Spike TV.
Some fighters are strong. Some are fast. Some are harvested carefully from other elite athletic endeavors, and some simply transfer a natural inclination toward fighting into a professional career. Then there is Daniel Downes.
In the plainest of terms, if you do not know “Danny Boy,” then you are missing out. Look no further than Downes’ most recent bout with Jeremy Stephens to see why. Making his UFC debut on short notice as an injury replacement, Downes was smashed by the veteran at “The Ultimate Fighter 13” Finale. Beaten from pillar to post and stretched like an Armstrong, the 25-year-old Chicagoan never gave up and survived to see a one-sided decision go against him.
Like many of his peers fighting on this card, win or lose, Downes will be one tough out. Couple this with a refreshingly real out-of-cage personality, and Downes could find himself becoming a cult favorite if he can win a few fights.
Francis Carmont seems to have flown under the radar prior to his UFC debut. Standing a lanky 6-foot-3, the Tristar Gym representative could prove a viable commodity in the UFC as a middleweight. Unlike his comparatively inexperienced teammate Mike Ricci -- who entered Bellator Fighting Championships’ second-season lightweight tournament with considerable hype, only to be knocked cold by Pat Curran -- Carmont has been tested by 23 professional bouts prior to making his debut on a major platform. He will be tested again at UFC 137, as he takes on on 19-fight veteran Chris Camozzi.
The Frenchman fights with a fan-friendly style, using his Thai boxing and jiu-jitsu aggressively in an effort to finish his foes. While his record is nowhere near perfect, many of his losses have come to solid competition, including Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Ross Pointon and Vitor Vianna. Add to this some decent takedown defense and a recent knockout of three-time UFC veteran Jason Day, and Carmont could
be somebody to keep an eye on at 185 pounds.
Vera’s Last Hurrah?
The story has been repeated many times, so there is little use repeating it again here. The fact is Brandon Vera was supposed to be great, and it never happened. His return at UFC 137 will mark his fourth bout in two years, as “The Truth” looks to earn his first win since a unanimous decision over Krzysztof Soszynski in August 2009.
His last two outings have been disappointing, though they came against seriously good competition. After having his orbital bone and nose broken by Jon Jones and Thiago Silva, respectively, it appeared Vera was on his way out of the UFC, until it was learned that Silva had used a banned substance prior to their bout.
Allowed back into the UFC fold, Vera now has a pretty ideal opponent in front of him. Known mostly for his ground-based attack, Eliot Marshall should not be able to hang with Vera standing. “The Fire” also enters the cage coming off a one-sided loss to another striker in Luiz Cane, during which he appeared totally overwhelmed.
If Vera intends on making one more run and providing some fireworks to once again excite observers, now is the time to do it.
Griffin the Featherweight
For the longest time, Tyson Griffin seemed to hover oh-so-close to a lightweight title shot but could never manage to get over the hump. Eventually, he hit a rough patch, as most fighters do. After dropping a hard-fought but reasonable split decision to Evan Dunham, Griffin was nuked by a Takanori Gomi right hook, marking the first time the Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts representative had ever been stopped.
Following a controversial decision loss to Nick Lentz, Griffin announced he would return to 145 pounds for the first time since 2005. He performed adequately in his featherweight Octagon debut but did not dazzle, chopping away at the legs of Manny Gamburyan en route to a majority decision.
In his sophomore effort, Griffin faces Bart Palaszewski, a fighter as game as they come. The Polish-American recently had a four-fight winning streak ended by a split decision loss to Kamal Shalorus -- a fight in which Palaszewski gave the hard-punching Iranian all he
With his first weight cut now behind him, Griffin should be readjusting to fighting lighter. However, he failed to make weight, checking in at 149 pounds. Whether he can eventually battle his way into a featherweight title shot remains anybody’s guess, but his fight with “Bartimus” will be an entertaining step along that path, be it forward or backward.
Lightweight Violence: Cerrone vs. Siver
Take one part bulky German kicker. Fold in half a cup of gradually improving takedown defense. Mix concoction thoroughly with one part rowdy “Cowboy.” Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy.
No matter which way you look at it, Donald Cerrone-Dennis Siver is going to be fun. Though there is a faint air of relevance surrounding the bout in regard to the lightweight rankings, it likely will serve more as a demolition derby. This one is made to stay standing.
Though Siver’s unanimous decision victory over Matt Wiman in July was contentious, win or lose, the German showed better takedown defense than in bouts past. True, Cerrone has greatly improved his wrestling in the last year, but it may not be enough to take down the German; that is provided Cerrone has interest in putting this fight on the floor in the first place, which is by no means a given.
The smart money says they both keep it standing and play Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots until somebody falls down. Can you say “Fight of the Night?”