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UFC 137 Preview: Donald Cerrone vs. Dennis Siver

MMAFrenzy kicks off our coverage of this Saturday’s UFC 137 event with a special preview of the anticipated scrap between lightweights Donald Cerrone and Dennis Siver. While we usually focus our previews on the main card, this Spike TV preliminary bout has future title implications for the winner and has garnered extra interest from Cerrone’s status as a fan favorite.

Stay tuned to each day this week as we take a look at new fight from UFC 137, leading up to the main event showdown between welterweight contenders BJ Penn and Nick Diaz.

Donald Cerrone vs. Dennis Siver

Keys for Cerrone (Bryan Robison):

The Cowboy is on a roll since joining the UFC. In fact, since losing to Ben Henderson for the WEC Lightweight Championship in April 2010, he has not lost. He has five consecutive wins, including three finishes (2 submissions, 1 TKO). He seems to have finally put his immense talent together.

In Siver, Cerrone will face his toughest challenge on the feet since Anthony Njokuani in 2007. While Siver has lost only once in three years, he has never routinely faced top competition. Sure, an occasional win over George Sotiropolous occurred, but the success he has achieved has been over mostly inferior lightweights.

Cerrone is certainly not that. He will bring the most versatile offense that Siver has probably ever seen. While his spinning back kick must always be feared, Cerrone will not back down from the German kickboxer. Cerrone will dwarf Siver by nearly five inches, and will have the reach advantage as well. With that advantage, along with being quicker than Siver, Cerrone can use the entire octagon to his advantage, and remain mobile.

In addition to at least being competitive with Siver in the striking department, Cerrone will hold his biggest advantage if the fight hits the mat. While Cerrone will not try to grind out a decision like Matt Wiman attempted against Siver in July, Cerrone can bring an array of submissions to hold him off.Even though Siver has two submission wins in the last two years, he has never really been tested by a strong BJJ practitioner.

Keys for Siver (Chris Leslie): Since returning to the UFC at UFC 93 Siver has gone 7-1 in the Octagon. Siver is a fighter who has never veered away from the formula that has advanced him in his career, which of course is his kickboxing. Siver has gotten better on the ground over time but his takedown defense has always been lacking and that could cause him trouble in this bout. While Cerrone primarily relies on his striking and BJJ to win him fights, he has gradually become a better wrestler.

Something that may play a role in this bout, is that a shot at the title is not that far away for the winner of this fight. Siver has to realize this, and that is why he must not neglect all aspects of his game. While Cerrone is not afraid to strike with anyone, and neither is Siver, with a title on the line he is unlikely to ignore a glaring weakness in Siver’s game. Coach Greg Jackson will likely remind him at multiple times to look for the takedown if the fight is close on their feet.

Siver MUST recognize that this will be a possible factor in this fight and he will need to adjust accordingly. Ideally, Siver has worked on his takedown defense just as a response to his showing in the Wiman fight but it would be a mistake to fight a Jackson MMA fighter and not expect game-planning to be a factor. A good way to do this will be to reduce the amount of kicks he throws. While it would be unwise to take out all of a very potent aspect of his game, he must be wary not to overuse them.

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