FIGHT BLOG RECAP: As advertised, Conor McGregor finishes Dennis Siver by TKO

Conor McGregor gets the job done once again 

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

BOSTON — Conor McGregor had all the hype surrounding him going into Sunday night, but it also mounted in a world of pressure as he took on Dennis Siver in the main event of the UFC’s return to Boston.

McGregor delivered and then some.

The Irish featherweight dismantled Siver from the opening bell until the end of the fight as he stalked the veteran fighter across the Octagon just waiting for his opening to uncork his special brand of offense.

McGregor found a home for his straight left hand, which busted Siver open in the opening stanza and left him prone for more as the fight moved forward. 

The second round saw more of the same until McGregor finally dropped Siver to the mat and finished him off with a barrage of elbow strikes on the mat.  As soon as the fight ended, McGregor leapt over the cage and got directly in the face of featherweight champion Jose Aldo as he screamed in celebration. Aldo kept smiling as McGregor tried to fight through security to get a piece of the champion before they actually meet later this year in a title fight.

In the co-main event, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone got the nod over Benson Henderson in a very close, controversial decision as the two fighters stood toe-to-toe over three rounds.  Henderson actually out landed his opponent by almost 30 significant strikes, but the judges still saw enough to give the unanimous decisionto Cerrone.

MAIN EVENT: Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver

Dennis Siver out to "Last Resort" by Papa Roach. Conor McGregor out to "The Foggy Dew" by Sinead O’Connor & The Chieftans/"Hypnotize" by Notorious BIG

Round 1:

Siver is very active and he’s catching McGregor with some of his counter strikes. McGregor fires a left hand straight down the pipe that catches Siver flush.  McGregor comes through with another straight left that connects again.  Siver working with leg kicks that are keeping McGregor honest.  Siver’s got a little cut above his left eye.  McGregor uncorks a good high kick and Siver tries to counter with a takedown, but the Irishman is up without a problem.  McGregor just stepping through and unloading a barrage of strikes to Siver. McGregor continues to fire away and Siver somehow survives through the round

10-9 Conor McGregor 

McGregor is stalking forward and he nails Siver with another straight left. McGregor just keeps feeding Siver those left hands and the German has no answer.  McGregor hits Siver with another left and he goes down. McGregor jumps on the ground and lands in the mount where he opens up a barrage of elbows.  Siver has no answer and referee Herb Dean finally stops it.  After the fight, McGregor leaps over the cage and gets right into featherweight champion Jose Aldo’s face.  McGregor is screaming as security breaks them up and Aldo keeps smiling the entire time.

Official result: Conor McGregor def. Dennis Siver by TKO

Analysis: McGregor was a monstrous favorite going into the fight so it’s no surprise that he got the job done, but he still showed off poise and grace under fire as Siver kept on the attack throughout the five-plus minutes he stuck around. In the end, McGregor did what he was supposed to do and got the TKO victory over Siver.  Now it’s time for McGregor to face Jose Aldo in one of the biggest fights of 2014. The featherweight division hasn’t had a star like this since Urijah Faber ruled the roost in the WEC.  McGregor is the star this weight class needed and now he’s got his chance to bring gold home to Ireland. 

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson

Round 1:

Henderson comes over the top with a leaping right hand that nails Cerrone for the biggest punch in the early part of the fight. Henderson fires off a good body kick as well.  Cerrone constantly pressing the action forward, but not putting much offense together yet. Henderson using a side kick to Cerrone’s thigh and Cerrone counters with a quick left.  Cerrone finally uncorks a body kick that hammers Henderson to the ribs.  Close round.

10-9 Benson Henderson

Round 2:

Henderson out landing Cerrone in leg kicks 29-8 so far through the first part of the second round.  Henderson very active with his kicks.  He’s missing with a lot of his punches, but keeping Cerrone honest with his kicks.  Cerrone just can’t find his distance and he’s not opening up his offense at all. Cerrone actually grabs Henderson in the clinch and gets a takedown.  Not much happens on the ground and they are back up again. Henderson lands another good leg kick and Cerrone looks like he’s sleepwalking out there

10-9 Benson Henderson

Round 3:

Cerrone finally putting together some combinations this round but still not quite catching up with Henderson’s elusiveness.  Henderson cracks Cerrone with a big head kick.  Cerrone looks glassy eyed, that kick definitely landed.  Henderson jumps in with a knee to the body and connects slightly to the head as well on the way up.  Henderson misses with a left high kick, Cerrone gets a takedown but they spring back to the feet in a hurry.  Cerrone is just a step behind Henderson on every exchange.  They trade body kicks and both land just as the fight comes to an end

10-9 Benson Henderson

FOX Sports scores it 30-27 for Benson Henderson

Official result: Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone def. Benson Henderson by unanimous decision (29-28 on all cards)

Analysis: The judges return another interesting decision on this one.  Henderson landed the more effective strikes, he was more active throughout all three rounds, but still came away with a loss.  Obviously, none of this is Cerrone’s fault, but his performance was slower and more reserved than usual.  Maybe it was facing a former champion like Henderson, but then again it might not be a good idea to fight twice in a two week span.  Cerrone’s win likely sets him up for a huge fight later this year against top lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov — assuming Cerrone can sit out long enough to wait for that matchup to come together. 

Uriah Hall vs. Ron Stallings

Round 1:

Stallings looks loose and comes out with a good body kick to open the fight. Hall appears as if he’s trying to land a one shot knockout. Stallings hits a hard inside leg kick while Hall tries for a spinning wheel kick that misses.  Stallings still moving forward, but Hall cracks him with a straight right counter that drops him to the mat.  Hall is standing over him looking to wing down punches, but he lets Stallings back to the feet.  Stallings has a good sized cut over his left eye. Referee Herb Dean pauses it and the doctor comes in, takes a quick look and says the cut is too deep to continue. Fight is stopped.

Official result: Uriah Hall def. Ron Stallings by TKO (doctor’s stoppage due to cuts) at 3:37, R1

Analysis: Huge credit to Ron Stallings for stepping up and taking this fight on Monday.  He had no time to prepare or really game plan for Hall, but he was still looking good early until one right hand changed everything. Hall looked a little too tentative as if he underestimated Stallings, but he showed when he connects, the damage is done.  The cuts on Stallings eye were fairly deep, but the doctor pulled the trigger on stopping the fight awfully quick.  Stallings will certainly get another fight and hopefully Hall will get back in the Octagon quick with a top 20 opponent in front of him. 

Norman Parke vs. Gleison Tibau

Round 1:

The best punch of the first half of the round comes from Tibau as he tags Parke with a hard left hand. Parke is constantly moving and throwing, but not landing much. Tibau stuffs a takedown and hits Parke with a counter left on the escape. Parke threw more this round, but Tibau landed the better shots.

10-9 Gleison Tibau

Round 2:

Parke still looking for a takedown in round two, which seems like a bizarre plan of attack considering his background is primarily striking. Tibau counters and lands the first takedown of the fight although Parke does bounce back up quickly. Tibau snags another takedown against the cage and Parke pops up again. Tibau hits a hard body kicks just before the round ends.

10-9 Gleison Tibau

Round 3:

Parke finally connects with a left hand that cracks Tibau on the jaw.  Parke shoots in again for a takedown.  He hasn’t landed one yet this fight, but he keeps trying.  Parke tries again but Tibau counters with a guillotine although he lets go to keep his arms from burning out and they are back to striking in the center. Parke comes over the top with a couple fast punches but Tibau eats it and keeps coming forward.

10-9 Norman Parke

FOX Sports scores it 29-28 for Gleison Tibau

Official result: Gleison Tibau def. Norman Parke by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Analysis: Impressive win for Tibau beating Parke at his own game.  Tibau looked confident and strong in his striking, which has always been one of the weaker parts of his fight game. Parke opted for a takedown heavy attack and he got stuffed on every attempt. A good win for Tibau in his 25th UFC fight although the judges once again come into question with this fight ending in a split decision. 

Cathal Pendred vs. Sean Spencer

Round 1:

Pendred comes storming out of the gate and takes Spencer to the ground. Spencer works up again, but Pendred keeping tight with the clinch.  Spencer breaks free and he nails Pendred with a huge punch and the Irish fighter goes down. Spencer swarms and Pendred is fighting to survive.  The fighters back to the center and Pendred seems okay now but his hands are low and that could spell disaster. Pendred ducks a punch and gets a body lock takedown. Spencer is back up again with the first round coming to an end. Very fast start to this one.

10-9 Sean Spencer 

Round 2:

Spencer’s speed is going to be a big factor here because he’s putting together two and three punch/kick combinations before Pendred can answer back.  Spencer gets inside and opens up with a left-right combination that tags Pendred before he throws another huge right that nails the former Ultimate Fighter contestant. Pendred holds on to get a good takedown with just under a minute to go in the round. Pendred tries for a kimura, but Spencer slips out and he’s back up again before the final horn.

10-9 Sean Spencer

Round 3:

Spencer’s offense continues to pop shot Pendred and the Irish fighter’s counters are just too slow to catch up.  Spencer tosses out a quick double jab and Pendred tries for a takedown against the cage, but to no avail. Pendred telegraphs a spinning back kick and misses Spencer by a mile.  Spencer closes the fight with another quick overhand right to close the door on the fight. 

10-9 Sean Spencer

FOX Sports scores the fight 30-27 for Sean Spencer

Official result: Cathal Pendred def. Sean Spencer by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Analysis: The judges somehow scored this fight for Cathal Pendred despite the fact that he seemingly lost all three rounds.  Pendred was a step behind Spencer all night long, getting clipped with three or four strikes before he could fire back with one of his own. Pendred did manage a few takedowns, but never had Spencer in any serious trouble. It’s mind boggling how Pendred got the win in this one.  Spencer deserved better from the judges. 

Lorenz Larkin vs. John Howard

Round 1:

Larkin really looking fast on his feet, quick combinations in and out while Howard counters with leg kicks. Larkin clips Howard with a hard right and a fast left and he’s down! Larkin just bludgeons Howard with a vicious series of punches on the ground until he goes out and Herb Dean stops the fight.

Official result: Lorenz Larkin def. John Howard by TKO (strikes) at 2:17, R1

Analysis: When Lorenz Larkin came to the UFC from Strikeforce he was touted as a top prospect. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out for him at 185 pounds, but wow did he look incredible in his first fight at welterweight on Sunday. He was fast and strong and put John Howard’s lights out in a hurry.  Larkin has a win over welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (while both were at middleweight) so there’s already a story to build around him in the division.  Here’s hoping Larkin proves that prospect label was on the money, he was just in the wrong weight class. 

Zhang Lipeng vs. Chris Wade

Round 1:

Wade fights off underhooks from Lipeng and gets a takedown of his own.  Lipeng gets back up and works from the clinch and lands a second low blow in the fight. Lipeng goes for the clinch again, but Wade reverses. Lipeng just looks massive at 155 pounds. Not much action at all in that round.

10-9 Chris Wade

Round 2:

Wade is more aggressive to start this round, but Lipeng slows him down in a hurry and they are back in the clinch again. And a third low blow with an inside knee from Lipeng. The referee does the right thing and takes a point away.  Makes this a tough fight for Lipeng to win now. Another grinder of a round even after the restart.

10-8 Chris Wade 

Round 3:

Lipeng knows he needs a finish to get a win here, but he’s quickly countered on a takedown and ends up on his back. Lipeng works back up but Wade is controlling the neck and working with knees to the leg and the body.  Wade closes out strong and should get a shutout victory.

10-9 Chris Wade

FOX Sports scores it 30-26 for Chris Wade

Official result: Chris Wade def. Zhang Lipeng by unanimous decision (30-26 on all cards)

Analysis: Not a lot positive to say about this one. Wade gets the win. Lipeng really needs to work on not destroying his opponent’s groin as he did in this fight with three low blows through the first 10 minutes. 

Paddy Holohan vs. Shane Howell

Round 1:

Holohan pushes forward and grabs a quick single leg takedown, lands in Howell’s half guard. Holohan gets the back and locks on the body triangle and he’s looking for the rear naked choke. Holohan has it deep but Howell is somehow surviving this. Howell finds an escape with just 10 seconds to go and there’s going to be a Round 2.

10-8 Paddy Holohan

Round 2:

Holohan gets the body lock and the trip and he’s back on the mat again. Holohan methodically advancing position while getting to side control. Holohan moves to the back and tries for another choke as the round comes to an end.

10-9 Paddy Holohan

Round 3:

Howell definitely having his best round yet because he’s winging punches and trying to get more offensive, but it doesn’t take long for Holohan to grab the clinch again to slow him down. Holohan gets Howell down and takes the back — again — and he’s trying for the choke/neck crank. Howell makes it to the final horn but that’s about all he did for 15 minutes. Dominant win for the Irishman.

10-9 Paddy Holohan

FOX Sports scores it 30-26 for Paddy Holohan

Official result: Paddy Holohan def. Shane Howell by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)

Analysis: Completely one-sided fight from Paddy Holohan in this one. Howell gets points for surviving, but that’s all he did because Holohan was all over him. Holohan struggled in his second UFC fight, but came back strong this time around. The fire from the Boston faithful probably didn’t hurt at all either. Holohan will continue to be an interesting fighter to watch in a top-heavy flyweight division.

Johnny Case vs. Frankie Perez

Round 1:

Perez gets an early takedown, but Case gets up and lands a takedown of his own. Case doing a good job with his ground-and-pound from the top, landing short, quick elbows and then posturing up for bigger punches. Strong first round for Case.

10-9 Johnny Case 

Round 2:

Perez tries to grab a heel hook, but Case punches his way out of it and lands on top again. Case looks for a kimura while standing, but can’t get it locked up. Perez goes for a takedown and Case easily counters and he gets on top instead. Case heavy on top and Perez just holding on.

10-9 Johnny Case

Round 3:

Case gets another takedown while slipping out of a half-hearted guillotine choke attempt. Case takes the back and then rolls back to mount. He opens up his strikes and the referee swoops in for the stoppage. Perez was definitely done.

Official result: Johnny Case def. Frankie Perez by TKO (strikes) at 1:54, R3

Analysis: That’s 2-0 so far for Johnny Case in his UFC career and he will probably get quite a few more before it’s all said and done. Case is a long, rangy striker, but he showed off some serious ground skill in this fight, especially his versatile attack from the top. It’s going to be interesting to see what he can do in 2015 in the lightweight division. Serious prospect. 

Charles Rosa vs. Sean Soriano

Round 1:

Rosa snags a quick takedown but lands in a triangle choke from Soriano. Rosa has his arm stuck in between the legs, which keeps Soriano from locking it up. Rosa gets out but Soriano squeaks out to get back to his feet.  Rosa is the aggressor but Soriano’s counters are landing. Soriano keeps blasting away at Rosa, who just shows no head movement whatsoever.

10-9 Sean Soriano

Round 2:

Rosa is limping on his left leg and he’s taking more damage from Soriano’s kicks to open the second.  Soriano catches Rosa and takes him to the mat. Rosa looking for a leg lock from the bottom. Rosa switches to an armbar but he’s able to take position and lands in side control. Rose takes the mount and takes the back. Soriano is able to slip out and get back to the feet. Rosa drops down looking for a Peruvian necktie but the round comes to an end.

10-9 Charles Rosa 

Round 3:

Soriano’s coaches tell him not to go to the ground or get taken down and how does Round 3 start? Soriano basically pulls guard and goes to the ground with Rosa on top. Rosa looks for an armbar and Soriano has to go for a slam to get out, but now Rosa is back on top. The fighters are up again and Soriano is trying to open up with his strikes, but Rosa takes it back down again. Rosa looks for a guillotine choke with less than a minute to go. Rosa locks up a D’Arce choke and Soriano taps out. Fantastic finish!

Official result: Charles Rosa def. Sean Soriano by submission (D’Arce choke) at 4:43, R3

Analysis: The replay makes the tap not look so much like a tap. Either way Rosa gets the win. After a rough start, Rosa came back in a big way to secure the win. He showed great promise in his first fight that he took on extremely short notice against Dennis Siver. Now Rosa gets his first UFC win and the sky’s the limit. He’s going to be a really fun addition to the featherweight division. 

Matt Van Buren vs. Sean O’Connell

Sean O’Connell out to "Pursuit of Happiness" by Kid Cudi. Matt Van Buren out to "Triumph" by Wu-Tang Clan. 

Round 1:

Van Buren landing some hard shots early including a couple kicks to the body.  O’Connell is just pressing forward and eating punches from Van Buren as he comes in. Van Buren is lighting O’Connell up on the feet, a huge barrage of knees to the body throughout the first. Great start for Van Buren.

10-9 Matt Van Buren

Round 2:

Jeremy Stephens telling Van Buren between rounds that his body shots are hurting O’Connell and he’s right on the money. Van Buren doing an amazing job using his reach and height to tower over O’Connell and hit him with good straight punches and more knees to the body. O’Connell keeps pressing forward and he nails Van Buren with a big overhand shot. O’Connell is tired, but he’s still coming over the top and hurting Van Buren. Much closer round this time.

10-9 Sean O’Connell

Round 3:

Van Buren still firing with good timing to hit O’Connell, and it’s clear neither of these guys are going to win a marathon. O’Connell comes back over the top again with a big left that hurts Van Buren. O’Connell stays on him and keeps hammering away with punches and Van Buren goes down! Van Buren gets up again but he’s just getting destroyed with punches and the referee finally steps in and stops it. Incredible comeback for O’Connell.

Official result: Sean O’Connel def. Matt Van Buren by TKO at 2:11, R3

Analysis: O’Connell had to endure some real punishment through Rounds 1 and 2, but still managed to come back and get the win in Round 3. O’Connell’s ability to come over the top and nail Van Buren was the difference in this fight.  Both fighters need to work on cardio for the future although it’s unclear if Van Buren will get another shot after losing his last two fights. 

Tateki Matsuda vs. Joby Sanchez

Round 1:

Matsuda tags Sanchez hard twice with a straight right hand. Sanchez comes back with a hard body kick. Sanchez fires a big right hand that floors Matsuda! Sanchez hops on the ground, lands in half guard. Sanchez does a good job to stay in control after a rough start to the fight.

10-9 Joby Sanchez

Round 2:

Matsuda fires off a couple hard punches to open the round, but Sanchez drags him to the mat briefly. Matsuda still outstriking Sanchez, although he’s getting in some good shots of his own. Matsuda appears to be just slightly more accurate right now.

10-9 Tateki Matsuda

Round 3:

Matsuda noted between rounds that he hurt his right foot and his coach advises him to just avoid kicking. Matsuda’s counterstrikes are eating Sanchez alive right now. Sanchez keeps coming and he staggers Matsuda with a nasty combination, drops him to one knee! Matsuda is hurt and he stumbles to the mat. Sanchez is all over him. Sanchez was down, but with that third round it seems like he pulled it off.

10-9 Joby Sanchez

FOX Sports scores it 29-28 for Joby Sanchez

Official result: Joby Sanchez def. Tateki Matsuda by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Analysis: Back and forth fight that was won by Sanchez thanks to his finishing flurries that hurt Matsuda in Rounds 1 and 3. Sanchez was getting out struck for large portions of the fight, but dropping Matsuda twice really helped him get the win here. The split decision is a little concerning, but we shall see how the judges do the rest of the night. 

FOX SPORTS 1 UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MCGREGOR VS. SIVER FIGHT CARD

MAIN CARD airing on FOX Sports 1 at 10p ET

MAIN EVENT: Conor McGregor vs. Dennis Siver

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone vs. Benson Henderson

Uriah Hall vs. Ron Stallings

Norman Parke vs. Gleison Tibau

PRELIMS airing on FOX Sports 1 at 7p ET

Cathal Pendred vs. Sean Spencer

Lorenz Larkin vs. John Howard

Zhang Lipeng vs. Chris Wade

Paddy Holohan vs. Shane Howell

Johnny Case vs. Frankie Perez

Charles Rosa vs. Sean Soriano

EARLY PRELIMS airing on UFC Fight Pass at 6p ET

Matt Van Buren vs. Sean O’Connell

Tateki Matsuda vs. Joby Sanchez