After 13 fights in the UFC, German-born mixed martial artist Dennis Siver made the cut to featherweight yesterday (April 14, 2012) and debuted at 145 pounds against Diego Nunes on the main card of UFC on Fuel TV 2 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Nunes had experience taking on men who dropped from lightweight, having previously bested former Ultimate Fighter season 5 runner-up Manny Gamburyan and having given multiple-time title challenger Kenny Florian more than he could handle in his 145 pound debut.
Both Siver and Nunes had flashy styles, with a diverse arsenal of kicks and spinning attacks, but it was Siver who would take a unanimous decision.
So what was the veteran German's key to victory yesterday which set him apart? And what's next for both featherweights?
Follow me after the jump for our Dennis Siver vs. Diego Nunes UFC on Fuel TV 2 fight review and analysis
The biggest difference in this fight was Siver's ability to control the center of the Octagon and the fact that he never surrendered the center. Nunes was forced to battle from the outside and throw his long range attacks, which are almost completely ineffective.
Nunes had a wide assortment of strikes, but he just can't land any of them with power or accuracy. He also telegraphs them pretty badly so Siver had no problem avoiding the big spinning wheel kicks or the spinning backfists.
Nunes has a pressure-based style which can wear his opponents down, but Siver took the Brazilian down every time he got in too close and this forced the Nova Uniao fighter to be much more tentative with his attack. Also, whenever Nunes got a little too close, Siver would wing a huge left hook which occasionally would clip him on the exit.
By the start of the third round, Nunes was already down two rounds to none and he tried to ramp up the aggression, even stunning Siver once or twice, but he couldn't get the 10-8 round or the stoppage that he so desperately needed. Thus, Siver easily took home a 29-28 decision across the boards.
For Diego Nunes, this was a case of his fighting style coming back to bite him. He's simply not aggressive enough in terms of looking for the finish and when he needs to make something happen like yesterday, he doesn't have the experience to do it. He's gone to nine straight decisions and that means if he drops the first two rounds, he's almost certainly going to lose the fight. In my opinion, he should abandon all the flashy crap that he throws and focus on improving his leg kicks and his regular punching. If he can actually be more effective with those strikes, then he can start mixing it up with some flashy strikes to catch an opponent off guard but when he's winging spinning back fists from 10 feet away, he's not going to surprise anyone.
For a next opponent, I think Nunes could take on someone like George Roop, Bart Palaszewski or Cole Miller.
For Dennis Siver, he came into this fight with a strong gameplan of controlling the cage center and he executed it perfectly in the first two rounds. He did a great job of keeping Nunes at bay with his push kicks and threats of a takedown and that played into his long-range kicking game as well. He was simply the cleaner, more technical striker over the course of three rounds and that's the type of style he brings to the featherweight division.
I'd like to see him step up against another top featherweight like Yuri Alcantara, Ricardo Lamas or even Erik Koch next if he came out of this bout with no injuries. He's 33 years old so if he's going to make a run in the division, he'd better do it soon.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you impressed by Siver's featherweight debut? Or were you more frustrated by Diego Nunes' lack of effective attack in the first two rounds? Who would you match each fighter up against next?
For complete UFC on Fuel TV 2 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.