In the lone lightweight fight on The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale, long-time UFC veteran Spencer Fisher (23-5, 8-4 UFC) will have the tough task of standing with dynamic German striker Dennis Siver (15-7, 4-4 UFC ) in a match-up that is only really relevant in getting one of these fighters back on the road to winning. Fisher is coming off a loss to Joe Stevenson at UFC 104 while Siver was dominated by The Ultimate Fighter season 9 winner Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 21 back in March.
Fisher has had a rather mediocre UFC career, but he's been involved in some highly-attractive slugfests that have given him a fan favorite status. Victories over Caol Uno, Shannon Gugerty, and Jeremy Stephens earned him a shot at the slumping Joe Stevenson, but he was in over his head in that bout due to his glaring weaknesses in his takedown defense. Unfortunately, his progression toward the top has always been stopped by fighters either coming back down to the middle-echelon of the division or rising into the higher ranks. Losses to Hermes Franca, Frankie Edgar, and even Sam Stout back at UFC 58 served as derailments to possibly being featured in more high-profile fights in the division.
Siver has had an interesting run in the UFC. He went 1-3 in his first four bouts with the promotion, losing to Jess Liaudin, Gray Maynard, and Melvin Guillard with a sole win over Naoyuki Kotani. Most fighters are dropped from the promotion and sent back to the minors, but Siver's status as one of the better European prospects helped him grab spots on the UFC 93 and UFC 99 cards. Impressively, Siver crushed both Paul Kelly and Nate Mohr with rare spinning back kick finishes and submitted Dale Hartt in a three-fight run. His most recent fight with Ross Pearson saw him on the losing end of a decision, but Siver didn't back down and probably earned some respect from fans.
For this contest, the stand-up game will more than likely be the dominant style featured. Fisher has proven himself to be a more than capable striker while Siver has shown knockout power and a diverse arsenal of kicks. As Fisher has moved up in competition over the years, his power hasn't been so formidable, but Siver seems to have the power to crush opponents if he can land.
Siver isn't the most technical striker as evident in the Ross Pearson fight, and Pearson's form in throwing more crisp, straighter punches really hurt Siver's chances. Fisher, at times, has been somewhat effective in using that same form, but I think Siver's power and aggressive style can be a force in this fight. Fisher will more than likely have to worry about the ground game however, and that could be a crippling concern to his striking style.
Siver, while mostly known for his exciting stand-up game, has some ground technique. He's a strong guy who has average takedown ability, and while Fisher has shown improving takedown defense -- it's not at a level in which fans talk about it being as impressive as vintage Chuck Liddell. Siver has a solid guillotine, nice transitions to the armbar, and has the knowledge to pull off some rather slick leg submissions. He is, by no means, a novice grappler.
I think this is a bit of a tough call as evident in the line. Siver has that dynamic striking skill-set that makes every fan out there want to see him pull off another impressive spinning back kick to the liver, but I actually think Siver's strength may be takedowns and control from the top by using his physical strength. I think Fisher will more than likely try to out strike the German, but I like Siver's chances here. I'll go with the slight upset, but I think it's anyone's fight to win.