ULTIMATE fighting fanatic David Powell (@Powlo981) gives us his verdict on the upcoming UFC Fight Night bouts from the early hours of Monday morning.
Conor McGregor v Dennis Siver | Monday 03.00 | BT Sport 1
In the early hours of Monday morning, Conor McGregor will step in the UFC octagon for the fifth time. For most European fighters, their fifth fight would represent an on-going battle as they bid to break the top-15 in their respective weight class. But McGregor’s a different animal.
Before his first bout, the Irishman was telling anyone who would listen he ‘wasn’t here just to take part, but here to take over’. It’s The Notorious’ second main event inside the Octagon and his rapid rise shows no sign of abating. But this weekend’s battle holds extra significance.
The UFC have already announced that should the Dubliner see off the challenge of Dennis Siver, he’ll be destined for a featherweight title fight against the formidable and so far unstoppable Brazilian champion, Jose Aldo.
It’s a mouth-watering incentive for both McGregor and UFC fans with rumours already circulating regarding a summer showdown inside Croke Park. It’s a prime example of the pull the Irish warrior has gathered in such a short space of time.
So can McGregor live up to his bold predictions, especially in this match-up? For those that missed the pre-fight build up videos, McGregor reckons he’ll have the fight done and dusted within two minutes of the very first round.
Well, it’s hard to argue with a man who has correctly predicted all bar one of his fights so far in the UFC. The one he got wrong? Forget it, he tore is ACL in the first round against Max Holloway but still bagged the victory!
Three first round TKO victories and one unanimous decision is a very impressive record and shows he's not just all talk. Every time he’s stepped up a level in competition, the results have been frighteningly good.
The Notorious’ last fight against, then fifth ranked, featherweight Dustin Poirier was the biggest of those tests and he came through emphatically with a beautiful first round TKO finish. Will it continue on Sunday Night or will the German veteran Siver cause an upset?
Siver is a very tough fighter with great spinning attacks and a solid all round game. That being said, I just don’t see many plausible ways in which he can get the better of the fearsome Dubliner. The Notorious has the greater movement, creativity and general fight IQ; he uses such an in-and-out style that I can’t see how Siver has any chance of making an impact before McGregor will have his way with strikes on the outside.
Much has also been made about how Siver could have the wrestling advantage. Possibly, but he lacks the energy to keep up with the Irishman’s movement. So I’m going to take McGregor to win inside 120 seconds at an appealing 6/4, with Paddy Power. I just don’t see Siver escaping the first round.
And if you don’t mind playing short prices, the 8/13 with Paddy Power on a McGregor first round win via TKO looks pretty rock solid too.
Benson Henderson v Donald Cerrone | Monday 04.00
An injury saw Eddie Alvarez pull out of a fight against former lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Monday morning’s event. But his absence has set up the trilogy fight between Henderson and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Now, normally with trilogy fights, each fighter will come into the bout with one win apiece. That’s not the case here as Henderson’s won both previous fights between the two. But they may not mean the trilogy showdown is as cut and dry as you might think.
Donald ‘The Madman’ Cerrone (yes, I’ve changed his nickname because of the bloke’s attitude and will to fight – he’s nuts) arrives having won all of his five previous fights in the past 12 months. This will be his sixth, an astonishing rate when you considering what’s involved in high level UFC fighting, with the last of the aforementioned victories coming just a fortnight ago.
That night, Cerrone won by a dominant decision over Myles Jury in a Co main event at UFC 182. His career upsurge has been remarkable and along the way he’s quite rightly won himself a ton of you new fans in the process.
Henderson on the other hand was a champion for two years from February 2012 until he was stopped by current champ Anthony Pettis via Armbar submission in late 2013. Smooth, as he’s known in UFC circles, will be gagging to get back to winning ways having lost out to upcoming title challenger Rafael Dos Anjos in his last Octagon appearance. It was a shock result that resulted in Henderson being viciously knocked out midway through the first round. Ouch.
I’ve analysed the two previous fights between these two; Smooth won by a unanimous decision in October 2009 before ending the second bout six months later with a slick submission in the first round.Of Henderson’s last nine victories, eight have come via decision and I suspect a similar outcome could be on the cards.
In a short three-round fight, Henderson should show his mettle and take the win but he may have to rely on the judges. It’s a 5/4 chance and has already attracted a wave of punters money in the week leading up to the bout.
The three-round factor really has my attention given the fact this will be Smooth's first fight scheduled for a Non Main event or title fight in nearly 3 years and that equates to eight fights in a row at the longer five-round distance. This i believe may play a factor given Henderson is so used to Fourth and Fifth rounds in fights, you have to believe he will have the better stamina of the two.
A case could be made for Cerrone to test the chin of Smooth, especially given the knockout in Henderson’s previous fight. But I’m going to assume the former champion will have tightened up his game and should see this one out. After all, he still boasts a great all-round game that shows no obvious weakness.
For a slightly hunkier price, it’s hard not to resist a small investment in Henderson to win by KO or submission. Paddy Power make it a 9/2 play and that’s right up my street. I feel Benson will really try to make a statement in this fight and put his name back into title contention, no better opponent to do that than the man with red hot form coming in, Donald Cerrone.
Conor McGregor v Dennis Siver – Conor McGregor to win in Round 1 via TKO (8/13 Paddy Power)
Conor McGregor v Dennis Siver – Conor McGregor to win within 120 seconds (6/4 Paddy Power)
Benson Henderson v Donald Cerrone – Benson Henderson to win on points (5/4 Paddy Power)
Benson Henderson v Donald Cerrone – Benson Henderson by KO/Submission (9/2 Paddy Power)