UFC 162 July 6, 2013 Featherweights: Cub Swanson vs. Dennis Siver By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics Big Picture: Leading off the UFC 162 main card is a potential fight of the night between two guys who have no problems throwing down. With both fighters riding multi-fight win streaks and currently occupying the middle of the UFC Top 10 ranks, only one will inch their way towards a shot at Jose Aldo for featherweight gold. So let’s check the numbers and see what they tell us. Summary Stats:
Tale of Tape Matchup: The identically sized orthodox stance featherweights only have one real difference between them: age. And age matters. Like, a lot. While the 5-year age difference gives a slight boost to Swanson’s chances, it’s the fact that Siver is now pushing 35 and has received quite a few knockdowns along the way that makes this factor more important. So the edge goes to Swanson. Standup Game: The striking advantages also point to Swanson. While Siver had good power early on for a lightweight, he hasn’t scored any knockdowns since his February 2011 fight against an older George Sotiropoulos (two of Siver’s knockdowns scored came in that fight). During his recent knockdown drought he dropped to featherweight and has been relying more on volume than power. But his forward-pressing attack that tends to outwork opponents by 60% uses below average accuracy. And that doesn’t match up well against the amazingly accurate striking of Cub Swanson. Both his jab and power strikes are way above average in accuracy, and his “average” knockdown rate for a featherweight has been on the up. Though Siver could press the attack and win rounds, he’s going to half to play a lot of defense to avoid getting hurt. Ground Game: In terms of grappling, a clear advantage doesn’t really pop off the page. Both these guys are strikers first, but Swanson boasts the only black belt on the ground. Swanson is more likely to attempt takedowns, and is more successful when he does compared to Siver. But Siver has had the better takedown defense. However, Swanson has spent more time overall on the mat, and was more active in advancing position and attempting submissions than Siver. While I don’t expect the fight to end here, Swanson does seem to get a slight edge on the ground. Fight Prediction: Both these guys like to stand and trade, and neither seems likely to back down or abandon the striking game to go to ground. The question will be Swanson’s accuracy versus Siver’s pace. While it’s more even on the ground, I still expect this to be decided on the feet. The combination of Swanson’s dangerous accuracy and Siver’s aging chin and forward pressing style could make for another flashy finish for Swanson. But if the fight goes all over the place, I like Swanson’s Team Jackson-trained skills to be superior in the long run. Reed’s Pick: Swanson by TKO Reed’s Recommended Play: A straight play on Swanson at -230 is a reasonable play here, and also good for round robins. A small play on Swanson by TKO at +280 is also interesting. Normally featherweight fights end inside the distance 40% of the time, which would imply an inside the distance betting line of +150. The current line of +100 for this fight isn’t quite there, but these two guys both have KO power, and at least one has a suspect chin. So whether you’re picking just the under at +125, or going big on Swanson for a finish, I’m looking forward to some bombs being thrown. It’s too early to know for sure, but there may also be a nice play on this one for Fight of the Night.