In his most recent bout, Darren Elkins upset “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner Diego Brandao, but he still seems to be flying under the radar ahead of his UFC 154 matchup against Steven Siler.
“He’s coming off of three consecutive wins. I’m coming off of three consecutive wins,” Elkins told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “We’re both kind of under the radar. ... I figure the winner of this is going to be one of the first people at featherweight to be 4-0, so probably the winner of this fight gets a big step up.”
Elkins (pictured, right) has put together a notable run in the UFC after losing his debut as a lightweight in August 2010. Charles Oliveira armbarred him in just 41 seconds, but Elkins learned from the defeat.
“I think the Oliveira fight taught me a lot,” he said. “I thought my jiu-jitsu stuff was better than what it was.”
Elkins went back to learning submission counters and defense, which helped him score three straight wins via unanimous decision, including the victory over Brandao.
“He’s a tenacious fighter,” Elkins said of Brandao. “He comes out swinging and comes out hard. I watched his fights and I saw he kind of gasses towards the end, like towards the end of the first round, but usually he finishes people. I knew it’d probably be a different fight if I got past the first round.”
Although he took some damage early, Elkins worked his strategy perfectly and took over in the second and third rounds to grind out a win. He could employ a similar game plan Nov. 17 against Siler.
“He’s a well-rounded fighter,” Elkins said. “He’s aggressive. I’m just going to have to match his aggressiveness and have a good start from the beginning and don’t fade at all.”
Siler is 3-0 in the UFC. He submitted Joey Gambino with a guillotine choke in June and also holds wins over Cole Miller and Josh Clopton. Elkins knows that beating Siler would advance his position in the featherweight division, but he also knows that finishing his opponent would help him climb the ladder much quicker.
“Obviously I haven’t really had a lot of finishes in the UFC,” Elkins said. “I’ve really been trying to work on trying to get some finishes. I’d like to go for a finish.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:00:12).