UFC 137 preview: Preliminary bouts

Preliminary bouts:

Dennis Siver (19-7) vs. Donald Cerrone (16-3)

Lightweights Siver and Cerrone collide in a marquee matchup that could determine a future challenger for the 155-pound championship.

Siver, 32, a Russian-born fighter of German descent, is on a four-fight winning tear. Nicknamed "The Menace," Siver recently earned decisions over George Sotiropoulos and Matt Wiman to position himself as a threat at 155 pounds.

A well-rounded fighter who specializes in kickboxing, Siver could be in for a war if he trades fists with "The Cowboy" for three rounds.

Cerrone, 28, a product of Greg Jackson’s school in New Mexico, is coming off a "Knockout of the Night" performance in his win over Brazilian prospect Charles Oliveira in August. Riding a five-fight winning streak of his own, Cerrone is eager to avenge his two losses against Ben Henderson in hopes of eventually challenging for UFC gold.

A talented muay thai specialist with crafty submission skills, Cerrone has been stellar since his UFC debut this past February.

Cerrone never shies away from a brawl, which makes this lightweight meeting a potential thriller. Cerrone throws more punches, but Siver is technically superior.

It will be a close fight that comes down to the wire. If Cerrone can mix up his offense and keep his punches flowing, he should eke out a razor-thin decision victory.

Verdict: Cerrone via decision

Tyson Griffin (15-5) vs. Bart Palaszewski (35-4)

In a featherweight tilt between two former 155-pound contenders, Griffin and Palaszewski are looking to establish themselves as forces at their new home of 145 pounds.

Griffin, 27, a longtime member of Xtreme Couture, defeated Manny Gamburyan by decision in his featherweight debut this past June.

The California native also enjoyed success in the lightweight division, earning key wins over Hermes Franca, Rafael dos Anjos, Marcus Aurelio, Gleison Tibau, Thiago Tavares, Clay Guida and Duane Ludwig. He is also credited as the first man to finish Urijah Faber, beating him by third-round TKO to win the Gladiator Challenge featherweight title in 2005.

Palaszewski, 28, trains alongside Jeff Curran at Team Curran in Illinois. His four-fight winning streak was snapped by Kamal Shalorus in a lightweight bout under the WEC banner last December.

A native of Poland, the IFL veteran Palaszewski owns wins over Zach Micklewright, Karen Darabedyan, and, most notably, Anthony Pettis.

Griffin’s superior wrestling and strength advantage will be too daunting a task to overcome for the UFC first-timer.

Palaszewski has improved considerably over the years, but Griffin’s experience against world-class opposition coupled with his intense power should carry him to a one-sided decision win.

Verdict: Griffin via decision