The second portion of the preliminary card kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on Spike TV and features two fights. The first is a featherweight bout between Tyson Griffin and Bart Palaszewski. The second is a lightweight bout between Dennis Siver and Donald Cerrone. MMA Nation gives a preview and prediction for both fights.
Weightclass: lightweight - 155lbs
Siver: 5'7", 19-7, age 32
Cerrone: 6'0", 16-3 record, age 28
Fans seems to be most eagerly anticipating this one. Siver's set himself apart from the pack in his second UFC run (he was released after going 1-3 in his first four UFC fights). Most notably, wins over legitimate talent in George Sotiropoulos and Matt Wiman prove a) his skill set in terms of wrestling and scoring in transition have improved and b) he generally deserves a higher caliber opponent.
Cerrone, meanwhile, has won five straight, most recently a brutal shellacking of Charles Oliveira. His savagery and eagerness to finish are beginning to catch the attention of the casual fan despite his humble WEC beginnings.
Siver's primarily a striker, but I don't suspect he's going to stand with Cerrone for sustained periods. Mixing up takedowns with strikes and doing so at a distance is probably his easiest route to victory. But he won't do much follow-up on the ground given the capability of Cerrone's guard. Rather, he'll look to strike where he can while keeping Cerrone off balance.
Cerrone is more than capable of winning here, but I'm not sure he's got the speed or athleticism to keep pace. I also wonder if he'll let Siver set the tempo while he counterfights.
Prediction: Siver by decision.
Weightclass: Featherweight - 145lbs
Griffin: 5'6", 15-5 record, age 27
Palaszewski: 5'9", 35-14 record, age 28
Ultimately the difference here should be speed. Palaszewski is very respectably well-rounded. He's got offensive capability everywhere. He's got excellent exerpience against a wide array of hugely different competitors. But he's probably going to be finding himself on the defensive when it comes to Griffin's use of his own athletic gifts.
Griffin should be able to get off first in striking. When he wants the takedown, he should be able to get it and if not, still force Palaszewski into defensive maneuvers for sustained periods of rounds. Palaszewski is probably harder to finish than he's given credit, so it's hard to see a finish for Griffin.
It's also not clear what to make of Griffin's inability to make weight. He lives and trains in Las Vegas, so travel complications - a common excuse among fighters who miss weight - cannot be the culprit. He also isn't an abnormally huge featherweight, so one wonders if a hidden injury prevented Griffin from being able to burn off the final pounds.
It's a close content. The first round should be very tight. But Griffin's speed should allow him to mix up his attacks suffciently that by the close of the third round there'll be no doubt who won the fight.
Prediction: Tyson Griffin.