Nothing makes a fight better than a good old fashioned rivalry – and when a title is added in the mix, the likelihood of either a highlight reel finish or a five-round war go through the roof. This is exactly what fans have to look forward to this Saturday at UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber. Reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz (16-1) will look to defeat the only man he has fallen to when he takes on former WEC Featherweight Champion “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (25-4). Long time 205lbs. PRIDE champion, feared striker, and perhaps the most well known fighter in MMA “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva (34-10) returns after a list of injuries to face brawler and always game slugger “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-8) in a fight that fans have been screaming for for over a year with the winner moving up the middleweight ladder. “Darth” Ryan Bader (12-1) is looking to rebound off his sole loss against current 205lbs. champ “Bones” Jon Jones (13-1) and the task ahead of him is none other than former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz (15-8). Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since 2006 and another loss could mean receiving his walking papers, but a win over the powerful Bader will keep him in good graces just a bit longer. Former WEC Welterweight Champion “Natural Born Killer” Carlos Condit (26-5) continues his rise to welterweight gold as he looks to make “Stun Gun” Dong Hyun Kim (17-4) another victim on his list and hand the Korean Judoka his first UFC loss. German renowned kickboxer Dennis Siver (18-7) shocked the world with a one-sided beatdown over Aussie golden boy George Sotiropoulos (14-3) at UFC 127, and “Handsome” Matt Wiman (13-5) is also coming off an upset win of his own over Cole Miller (17-5). Siver and Wiman are both riding three-fight win streaks and are looking to add another consecutive victory to their growing list as well as stake their claim in the top of the lightweight division at the expense of their opponent.
At First Glance: Dennis Siver is on a destructive tear through the lightweight division. Perhaps the most powerful kick boxer in the 155lbs. ranks, he has shown much development in his most recent fights. From his takedown defense to his game plan execution and submission game, Siver is becoming scarier each time he steps into the Octagon. Matt Wiman also has taken his career to a new peak with three solid wins over dangerous opponents such as Mac Danzig (20-8) and Shane Nelson (11-5). Wiman, a very well rounded fighter himself, will have a tough test in the striker Siver. The German kickboxer is game to fight anyone who is brave enough to stand in front of him, however many fans believe that Wiman is a step down in competition for him. The role of the underdog is tagged once again to Wiman and he will look to pull another one out of his hat and knock off another high profile opponent while Siver will try to batter his way to another victory and cement a solid place among the 155lbs. title contenders.
In Depth: Dennis Siver is not going to play any guessing games with Matt Wiman. He’s not going to fake him out with any wrestling or ground game – he’s coming to stand and trade and to knock Wiman into the first row, as he likely plans on turning this MMA fight into a kickboxing match. Known mostly for his back kick to the body and brutal ground-and-pound, expect Siver to use his kickboxing experience to damage the legs of Wiman and slow him down then work the head and body with punches. Wiman though is a different animal. He has solid hands and a ground game to go with it, and he showed in his bout with Cole Miller that he has greatly improved his skills to become a better fighter. Against Siver he will need a solid game plan that will protect him from Siver’s punishing stand-up. Wiman’s best bet is to clinch Siver, stay tight, wear on his body with punches and knees, and tire out his arms.
Siver’s weak points are shrinking as he continues his career; at first the ground game wasn’t his friend but recently he has shown much improvement in both his defense and offense on the mat. Wiman is the taller fighter and could use his reach to stay away from Siver’s power strikes, but Siver will have the advantage in strength due to his shorter frame and his speed is no joke, either. Wiman has been finished just once in his career so the chances of the German finishing the Colorado native are slim. However, he can’t sleep on Siver’s powerful strikes. The longer the fight lasts the more it could boost Wiman’s confidence but being on the receiving end of Siver’s kicks and punches will make it seem like a long night for “Handsome” Matt Wiman. Siver will use his striking to pepper then get inside and do major damage to Wiman until he drops him and works his ground-and-pound. Don’t bet on Siver staying down if Wiman recovers, because he has no problem beating up another opponent for three rounds and winning a clear cut decision to keep the fight in his favor.
Wild Card: Siver has four submission losses on his record, three being arm locks. If Wiman can wrestle Siver to the mat and catch an arm as Siver throws a hammer fist or tries to escape and isn’t too careful, Wiman can capitalize and take his arm for a torque. Wiman’s ground game and tough heart can work for him and help him score an upset win to get him into talks for a spot on the top of the ladder of opponents. However, Wiman has to get Siver to the mat in order to look for a submission first. and that in itself will be quite a task.
The Verdict: Dennis Siver is becoming a fan favorite by the day. His explosive and powerful striking draws a new audience of kickboxing fans and MMA fans alike to the UFC and his humble personality wins the hearts of his peers and fans alike. Matt Wiman is game to fight wherever the fight goes but against Siver he will be completely outclassed on the feet. Siver will likely use his lighting fast punches and bone breaking kicks to batter Wiman’s legs and rob him of his footwork and power, then turn his attention to the body and head of “Handsome” Matt. Look for a Mickey Ward-style body, body, head combo with hooks and crosses until it breaks the will of Wiman and Siver has his hand raised at the end of the fight. Siver via Unanimous Decision