UFC Fight Night Boston – SportsJOE picks the winners so you don’t have to
It's almost time for the highly anticipated "I can't believe it's not Dublin" card. McGregor has vowed to knock Siver out in under two minutes, but will the Notorious deliver on his promise?
Our writers go head to head for the first time since UFC 182, aka the slightly disappointing card with the great main event. Their records thus far look like this.
Darragh "The Quizmaster" Murphy: 21-10
"Bourbon" Ben Kiely: 19-12
Conor McGregor v Dennis Siver
DM: Jaysus I forgot there was going to even be another guy in the main event such has been the coverage of Conor McGregor.
But I certainly believe the hype and, despite the fact that Siver does have a
puncher's chance spinning-back kicker's chance, "The Notorious" will barely break a sweat once the bell rings.
McGregor might not be ready for Jose Aldo just yet but he's more than ready to knock out the aging Siver. McGregor via KO (Round one)
BK: We all know that this is a mismatch. McGregor is far more well-rounded and athletically gifted than the "midget, German steroid-head". Anything other than a finish would go down as a massive disappoint in the McGregor camp and, while that finishing haymaker might not come in the first round, it's bound to land eventually.
The Notorious should easily defeat Siver, bar injury, some sort of freak accident or if Siver's been dipping into the naughty juice again. Even at that, I'd back the McGregor over a juiced-up Siver nine bouts out of 10. McGregor via KO (Round one)
Donald Cerrone v Benson Henderson
DM: Tricky one this due to a number of factors, mainly the fact that Henderson already has two wins over Cerrone and that "Cowboy" fought like yesterday.
Both fighters have lost three times since but Cerrone has been far more active, fighting eighteen times since he was submitted by Henderson in April 2010 while "Smooth" has fought twelve times.
But I think that Cerrone has only improved since 2010 and Henderson looks a far cry from the man who defended the lightweight belt three times.
As well as that, "Cowboy" is my favourite fighter so you could put him in there against Cain Velasquez and I'm still going to pick the Budweiser-sipping legend. Cerrone by decision.
BK: Does it really matter who I think is going to win this one? The real winners here are the fans. If it wasn't for McGregor's superstar status, this would definitely be the headliner.
Nonetheless, for the people's main event, I'm going to go with the former champ. Henderson's one of the best tactician's in the sport and while Cerrone is on a phenomenal run, I think the ludicrously short 15-day turnaround and the fact that he's already lost twice to Smooth will play against him.I expect Henderson to put in a masterful, underappreciated performance that will frustrate Cerrone, cause the crowd to boo and sway the judges' vote.
Either that or Cerrone will lay him out with his devastating Muay Thai. Henderson by decision.
Uriah Hall v Ron Stallings
DM: I would have picked Uriah Hall to beat Costas Philippou. I would have picked Uriah Hall to beat Louis Taylor. And I'm definitely going to pick Uriah Hall to beat Ron Stallings.
Props to Stallings for stepping in on late notice to face one of the best strikers in the middleweight division but props will matter little when he gets a shin to the noggin after about a minute. Hall via KO (Round one)
BK: I'm going to hold my hand up and admit that I don't know a whole lot about late replacement, Ron Stallings. However, I do know at least two things about him. Firstly, he's coming into this bout off the back of a loss to TUF 17 reject Tim Williams. I'm also aware of his nickname, "The Choir Boy". Neither bode well for the underdog. Hall via KO (Round two)
Norman Parke v Gleison Tibau
DM: While Uriah Hall has been blessed with easier fights thanks to fighter replacements, Norman Parke arguably faces a tougher test with his opponent switch-up from Jorge Masvidal to Gleison Tibau.
Tibau has big-name wins on his record and is a dangerous fight for any lightweight but Parke hasn't lost since 2010 and has looked better every time we've seen him.
I see Tibau coming out power-punching in the first round and possibly even taking the 10-9 before his arms gas out and "Stormin" Norman outstrikes him in the second and third. Parke by decision.
BK: This is a very tough fight for the Bushmills fighter. He may be undefeated under the UFC banner but he's certainly never come up against someone of Tibau's talent. The dude has a win over the next title challenger, Rafael dos Anjos, for crying out loud.
That being said, Parke has the requisite skill-set to defeat the veteran. The electricity of an impassioned, Irish-friendly crowd might give him the edge that he needs to bring home the victory. Parke by decision.
The best of the rest
Cathal Pendred v Sean Spencer
DM: I'm not backing Pendred to do anything too spectacular or flashy here but, hey, Randy Couture is one of the greatest of all time and he's never been an extravagant fighter.
"The Punisher" embraces the grind as we've seen in his two fights in the octagon and we're backing the Dub to go 3-0 in the UFC come Monday morning. I don't see any areas in which he's the inferior fighter to Sean Spencer so I reckon he'll dominate proceedings for fifteen minutes. Pendred via decision.
BK: After his stunning promotional debut, the Punisher turned in a lacklustre performance to scrape a split decision in Sweden. However, his disappointing showing against Umalatov has only seemed leave him with a burning desire to show everyone the real Cathal Pendred.
I have a feeling that the MMA world is going to witness the rebirth of the former Cage Warriors champ in Boston. I think he's not only going to get the win, but he's going to turn some heads doing it. Pendred via KO (Round three)
Patrick Holohan v Shane Howell
DM: I'm probably looking forward to seeing Holohan fight more than McGregor. He's a hugely entertaining fighter to watch and should really break into the flyweight top 15 in 2015. He's got slick jiu-jitsu and has surprising power for a 125lber as we all saw when he rocked Josh Sampo at UFC Dublin before finishing on the ground. Shane Howell's record (13-8) shows that he is never going to be a consistent fighter while "The Hooligan" was undefeated before his decision loss to Chris Kelades and I'm backing Paddy to get back into the win column. (Holohan via submission (Round one)
BK: If you've seen Holohan's fight against Josh Sampo in Dublin, you'll know that the Hooligan feeds off the energy of the crowd. He didn't have that same atmosphere in his last fight in Canada (even though he put in a lionhearted performance in the opening two rounds), but I think the Bostonions will give him a warm welcome and inspire him to showcase his superb ground game. Holohan via submission (Round one)