LAS VEGAS – It took him a round to warm up, but Cub Swanson found his rhythm midway through his encounter with Dennis Siver and brought out the fireworks.
Now it’s a question of whether a third-round TKO win puts him in the No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 spot in the featherweight division, where he’s won five straight.
The featherweight bout opened the main card of today’s UFC 162 event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
Swanson told the crowd it’s up to them to put him in position to fight champ Jose Aldo, who next meets Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163. Also standing in line is Anthony Pettis, whom Jung replaced, and Ricardo Lamas, who beat Swanson two years ago and owns a four-fight winning streak.
Swanson struggled early against German Siver, who boasted back-to-back wins since dropping from lightweight to featherweight. Siver smothered him on the canvas and threw a flurry of punches and kicks that prevented replies.
But midway through the second frame, Swanson found his distance and began to land with more frequency. He surged late in the frame with a hip toss and secured mount to rack up additional points.
In the third, Siver’s punches slowed, and Swanson continued to outstrike him. An expertly placed combination sent Siver reeling to the mat, dazed, and Swanson moved in to finish.
Siver already had gone unconscious when referee Herb Dean called off the bout at the 2:42 mark of the third round.
“I tried to go after him right away but had to step back and compose myself to regain the energy I needed in order to finish the fight,” Swanson said. “I’m the No. 1 contender in the division. When I get that call for my next fight, I will be ready to go for the belt.”
“I’m disappointed obviously because I was so close to the title shot,” Siver said. “I thought I won the first two rounds, but it’s MMA and you never know. One punch can change your career.”
Since his UFC debut loss to Lamas, Swanson (20-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC) hasn’t been bested in the promotion. Siver (21-9 MMA, 10-6 UFC_ sees a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 162 results include:
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John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Las Vegas.