Conor McGregor secured a title shot at UFC Fight Night Boston. | Photo: Jeff Botari/UFC/Zuffa/Getty
Conor McGregor effectively and efficiently staked his claim as the No. 1 contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s featherweight division.
McGregor carved up Dennis Siver on his way to a second-round technical knockout in the UFC Fight Night “McGregor vs. Siver” headliner on Sunday at the TD Garden in Boston. McGregor (17-2, 5-0 UFC) drew the curtain 1:54 into round two, pushing his current winning streak to 13 fights. Afterward, the “Notorious” Irishman hurdled the cage and sought out featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who responded to his antics with an amused smile.
Siver (22-10, 11-7 UFC) seemed to be stuck in neutral, overwhelmed by the power, speed and technique of his counterpart. McGregor tore into him with straight lefts and head kicks, leaving him with heavy damage to his left eye. He also shut down Siver’s takedown game, popping to his feet on two different occasions. By the time the second round rolled around, the outcome had become inevitable. McGregor floored the Russian-born German kickboxer with a straight left to the face and mopped up what was left, as he jumped to full mount and calmly closed it out with unanswered elbows and punches.
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Cerrone Streak Reaches Seven
In the lightweight co-main event, Donald Cerrone posted his second win in 15 days, as he earned a unanimous decision over former Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting champion Benson Henderson. Cerrone (27-6, 14-3 UFC), who replaced former Bellator MMA champion Eddie Alvarez on short notice, swept the scorecards with 29-28s across the board, notching his seventh straight win.
Henderson utilized a variety of standup techniques, from side kicks to the thigh and jumping knees to thudding body kicks and sneaky right hands. Cerrone answered with left hooks, crisp body blows and clean leg kicks while also mixing in takedowns in the second and third rounds. Henderson (21-5, 9-3 UFC) appeared to wobble “Cowboy” with a head kick in round three, but Cerrone recovered, moved forward and went back to work with his hands and feet, doing enough damage to draw the favor of the cageside judges.
The 31-year-old Henderson, who had beaten Cerrone in their two previous WEC encounters, has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his 26-fight career.
Hall Stops Stallings on Cut
Uriah Hall, a “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 finalist, stopped Ron Stallings on a first-round cut in a featured middleweight clash. The end came 3:37 into round one after the cageside physician advised referee Herb Dean to call for the stoppage.
A late replacement for the injured Louis Taylor, Stallings (12-7, 0-1 UFC) held his own against the heavily favored two-time Ring of Combat champion. One strike permanently altered the complexion of the fight, as Hall (10-4, 3-2 UFC) sent a laser-guided counter right hand crashing into the Lloyd Irvin protégé’s face and put him on the canvas. Heavy, damaging ground-and-pound followed, with Hall going for the kill. Once Stallings was allowed to return to his feet, it became evident he had suffered severe, fight-ending damage to his left eyebrow.
Tibau Edges Parke for Split Verdict
Stout left hands and a pair of takedowns carried American Top Team’s Gleison Tibau to a split decision over “The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes” winner Norman Parke in a lightweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Tibau (33-10, 16-8 UFC), who replaced injured teammate Jorge Masvidal on short notice.
Parke (20-3-1, 4-1-1 UFC) lacked the firepower necessary to give the Brazilian pause. Tibau cracked him with lefts throughout the 15-minute scrap, grinded on him in the clinch and mixed in two second-round takedowns. Parke made his move in round three, where he stayed busy and backed up his counterpart with punches and takedown attempts. His work bore only minimal fruit, however, as the finish he needed never materialized.
Tibau’s 16 victories inside the Octagon tie him with Anderson Silva, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture for third on the UFC’s all-time list.
Pendred Pockets Curious Decision
Former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Cathal Pendred struck for takedowns in all three rounds, as he pocketed a controversial unanimous verdict over Sean Spencer in an undercard tussle at 170 pounds. All three judges scored it for Pendred (16-2-1, 3-0 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.
Spencer (12-4, 3-3 UFC) rocked the Boston-born Irishman with repeated right hands in the first round and seemed to stay a step ahead of him throughout their 15-minute match. Pendred pecked away with takedowns and low kicks and threatened with a late second-round armbar, but he landed almost nothing substantial on the feet. The 27-year-old SBG Ireland mainstay has won seven fights in a row.