Notoriously Good in Boston (UFC Fight Night 59 Review)

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Photo Credit: UFC.com

The UFC continues their run of big events in Boston when top contender and fan favourite Conor McGregor stepped into the octagon against Dennis Siver. Heading into the fight it was the Conor McGregor show with Siver taking the back seat in everything. After all this was a match with an outspoken Irish fighter in Boston who was going to get a title shot if he could win the fight. He had been the loudest and the best featherweight in the UFC throughout 2014 and was finally ready to take the final step towards the ultimate test in a fight that people have been waiting for since McGregor entered the UFC. Fans are waiting for Jose Aldo versus McGregor but that has given Siver a unique position in fighting. He has never been the loudest fighter or a fighter that was considered a title contender in the UFC but he has stuck around for since 2007. That in itself is a tremendous accomplishment for any fighter as a thirteen year career in the UFC is almost unheard of in the promotion. A few bad fights can be the reason that the UFC decides to cut a fighter and with so many fighters coming in it doesn’t take a lot for a fighter to find himself on the outside. That becomes even harder when a fighter never really challenges for the title as the less noise they make the more likely they are to be forgotten. Siver has never allowed the UFC to forget him as he remains a part of the promotion and continues to sit in the rankings. He may not have received a lot of title talk but he is now in a position where that conversation may be able to start. This is the biggest fight of Siver’s long career and his first as a UFC headliner. He may not have got there without his opponent but he is ready to take the challenge and try to shock the world in Boston. Not one person thought he was going to win this fight heading into the weekend and if he could pull off the win it would be one of the biggest upsets in the UFC. A win would put him directly into the title race and although it may not get him a title shot he would only be a few fights away if he could beat the most exciting fighter in the UFC right now. Siver had no pressure coming into the fight as he couldn’t lose anything and he was hoping to take that lack of pressure against a fighter with all of the buzz and the pressure. McGregor came into Boston as the fighter that everyone wanted to talk to and wanted to see. He was the fighter selling tickets to the fight and for many that is a lot of pressure to handle heading into a fight. McGregor had always been that type of celebrity but this was a new level when he headlined a fight card with so much on the line. The matchup seemed to be in McGregor’s favour from the start as he is a very well-rounded fighter who loves to stand. He has knockout power and a unique striking style that has given plenty of fighters difficulty. The biggest surprise too many though is his ability on the ground with very good jiu jitsu that can lead to submissions. Meanwhile Siver is a very basic fighter who has enough to try to keep the fight where he wants it. Mainly a striker with some wrestling, Siver seemed to be fed to the sharks on this fight but for him it was just another challenge to overcome. When the fight began it seemed like Siver was going to be able to circle and get some damage to McGregor. Then the Irishman began to get going and started to land his left jab while Siver began to run away from it. From that moment in the first round it was McGregor’s fight as Siver had no answer. The start of the second round was no different but this time the punches got harder and McGregor landed a big left that sent Siver to the mat. McGregor jumped on the chance and force the referee to end the fight giving him another early finish and sent Siver to the list of defeated. Siver will continue to hang around the division and although he will likely never fight for a belt he remains a top fighter in the division. More importantly McGregor received what he has been looking for since he entered the UFC, a title shot. After the fight McGregor jumped into the crowd to confront Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, the man that he will fight in the biggest fight of his life and the biggest challenge he has ever faced in what could be one of the best fights of 2015.

The Featherweights did not disappoint in their main event matchup but before that game came a match of two lightweights with one very busy fighter. Donald Cerrone had taken a second fight in three weeks after beating Myles Jury at UFC 182 on January 3rd. The fight has already set Cerrone up to be one of the most active fighters in the UFC, which is exactly the way he likes it. The opportunity came when Eddie Alvarez was forced to drop out of his fight with Benson Henderson. Cerrone accepted the challenge and prepared for another fight while Henderson was told who he was fighting. Henderson reportedly had no say in the matchup, generally fighters are asked if they would like to change opponents, but he is happy to accept the challenge. As tough as it will be for Cerrone to fight so early after his match earlier in the month, it may be equally as tough for Henderson. The former lightweight champion is trying to get back to the belt after losing to Rafael Dos Anjos in what amounted to a top contender matchup. Now he looks to get back on track but will have to change his gameplan from a good fighter to one of the best in the division. Alvarez was a good spot for Henderson to start his comeback but when he went down the UFC submitted the #3 fighter in the toughest division in the UFC. Now Henderson had to deal with the exceptional striking of Cerrone along with Cerrone’s great wrestling. Meanwhile Cerrone will look to change thing up slightly against a superior wrestler. The fight showed the dangers of short notice fights as neither fighter came out with their usual killer instinct. Cerrone was clearly not 100% as he seemed slower and less aggressive than usual. Meanwhile Henderson was trying to ensure that he didn’t get into a bad situation against a fighter he rarely studied. Both fighters remained standing for the majority of the fight with Cerrone earning a few takedowns that amounted to little in terms of fighting on the mat. They were able to throw multiple big strikes with Cerrone throwing a few more kicks. Overall it was not the fast-paced fight that both fighters would have put on if they were able to prepare with the usual gaps in between fights. At the end of the fight it was a tough call on who won as neither really dominated the fight although it did seem like Henderson may have had a slight edge in the stand-up. The judges decided that the takedowns marked the difference and with Cerrone winning the takedown battle he took home the unanimous decision win. The win was his second in 15 days and he will now take a deserved break but will not extend that break too long as he wants to get back in the octagon and earn a title fight after Dos Anjos fights for the title in March. Henderson will have to swallow his second straight loss that he clearly thought he should have won as he continues to climb back into the lightweight title hunt.

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