This upcoming Saturday night, (July 2, 2011), two extremely talented lightweights will wage war inside the Octagon in the opening bout of the UFC 132 main card, as Dennis Siver squares off against "Handsome" Matt Wiman.
Both men are currently riding three fight win streaks and are likely one big win away from jumping up to "contender" status.
Siver is a flashy and compact German kickboxer who also has a background in judo and taekwondo. He's coming off the biggest win of his career, scoring a dominant decision victory against rising star George Sotiropoulos and exposing the Australian's weak offensive wrestling game in the process. He'll be looking to continue his rise up the lightweight ranks.
Matt Wiman has really hit his stride in the UFC. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season five contestant has won seven of his last nine fights and he garnered "Fight of the Night" in his lone two losses in the past four years. He'll be looking to wrestle Siver's momentum away from him and get one fight closer to a title shot.
Will Siver score another crazy "Knockout of the Night" with his vicious spinning back kicks? Will Wiman still be pretty after this fight? Which lightweight will take the next step and propel themselves up the divisional ladder?
Our fight preview gives you all the info you need to know:
Record: 18-7 overall, 7-4 in the UFC
Key Wins: George Sotiropoulos (UFC 127), Andre Winner (UFC 122), Jim Wallhead (CWFC)
Key Losses: Ross Pearson (UFC Fight Night 21), Gray Maynard (UFC Fight Night 12), Melvin Guillard (UFC 86)
How he got here: Dennis Siver is a German kickboxing dynamo. He started out on the European circuit with moderate success and finally earned his big break in the UFC at a special England show in 2007. He would be released from the promotion after going 1-3 which included two losses to the current contenders Melvin Guillard and Gray Maynard.
Siver earned his way back to the UFC in 2009 and would make several "Knockout of the Year" lists, finishing two fights with nasty spinning back kicks.
After stumbling against Ross Pearson in a fight where he was constantly pressured in the stand-up, he's since reeled off three big wins in the promotion including the most impressive performance of his career against George Sotiropoulos at UFC 127. In that fight, Siver hurt the Australian multiple times and kept the fight standing despite Sotiropoulos' best efforts.
With the win, he earned another big fight with a rising lightweight star in Wiman.
How he gets it done: Siver is a kickboxer first, grappler second, although his submissions and defensive wrestling have improved drastically since his UFC debut over four years ago.
Siver will likely look to keep this fight standing where he can work his powerful and compact punches. He's got the nastiest spinning back kick in MMA, having twice finished fights with a perfectly timed blow to the liver so he'll be looking to get some space. His technique is very fluid and he can launch it with little to no telegraphing. All he needs is the proper distance.
If Wiman tries to take this fight to the ground, Siver will do his best to sprawl or clinch defensively. His jiu-jitsu is above average but it's not worth the risk. Standing is where he gets it done.
Record: 13-5 overall, 7-3 in the UFC
Key Wins: Cole Miller (UFC Fight for the Troops 2), Mac Danzig (UFC 115), Michihiro Omigawa (UFC 76)
Key Losses: Jim Miller (UFC Fight for the Troops), Sam Stout (UFC 97)
How he got here: After losing his debut at UFC 60 to Spencer Fisher via spectacular flying knee, Matt Wiman returned a year later as a contestant on the stacked fifth season of The Ultimate Figthter. Wiman passed his first test on the show but would drop a close decision to eventual finalist Manny Gamburyan in the quarterfinals.
In his UFC return, he dominated Brian Geraghty and began an impressive four fight win streak defeating the likes of Michihiro Omigawa and Thiago Tavares.
"Handsome's" momentum would be halted in back to back contests to Jim Miller and Sam Stout, although he won "Fight of the Night" in both bouts.
He rebounded nicely with three straight wins including a dominant decision victory over fellow TUF season five contestant Cole Miller in his last fight this past January to put him "in the mix" for a big fight against Siver.
How he gets it done: Wiman has some power in his strikes, but what he really wants to do is take the fight to the ground where he can work his excellent wrestling, ground and pound and submission skills.
Wiman has probably watched Siver's most recent fight with George Sotiropoulos a million times so he knows exactly what not to do by now. The fight that he could learn the most from would be Siver's loss to Ross Pearson.
In that fight, Pearson never gave Siver the space to throw his flashy kicks and he was constantly in his face. If Wiman is standing with Siver, that's where he needs to be. If he can frustrate Siver standing, he might just keep the fight there but he can also leave big openings to take the fight to the ground.
If Wiman can put Siver on his back, he'll have to watch out for the German's arm bar because he has a good one but the TUF veteran should be well-versed enough in submission defense to avoid it and ride out a decision on the ground if not finish the fight there.
Fight "X-Factor:" The "X-Factor" for this fight is Siver's takedown defense. Sure, he was able to stuff George Sotiropoulos, but the Australian is not known for his wrestling at all and his attempts were pretty weak. Siver will really have to be sharp to stay on his feet against Wiman who's very relentless and strong with his shots when he needs to be and he'll definitely need to be strong for this fight. A ton of things can change in this fight depending on whether Siver stays on his feet or not.
Bottom line: If the does remain standing, there is potential for some serious fireworks. Both men possess power in their hands and Siver also has some very flashy kicks. He can throw a mean front kick with no wind-up as well as some chopping leg kicks. His defensive wrestling has gotten to the point where he's not afraid to take risks with his striking and that leads to some very exciting moves.
If the bout goes to the ground, there's some potential for stalling, but honestly, Wiman has won "Fight of the Night" three times and Siver has two "Knockout of the Nights," one "Fight of the Night" and a "Submission of the Night" on his record. This should be a good one.
Who will come out on top at UFC 132? Let us know in the comments section below!