UFC 159 results recap: Steven Siler vs. Kurt Holobaugh


The UFC vs. Strikeforce theme continued into UFC 159 when Steven Siler met Kurt Holobaugh in Holobaugh's promotional debut as the kickoff fight to the Facebook card.

For a night that ended on something of a low point, it certainly started on the right note. Featherweights Steven Siler (22–10) and Kurt Holobaugh (9–2) fought a spirited three rounds. The fight involved a lot of decent, if a bit wild, exchanges on the feet and a lot of good grappling scrambles.

Holobaugh probably took a slight edge on the feet, if for nothing else than landing the more damaging strikes, but he got dominated in the grappling exchanges. Siler was able to get a number of punishing takedowns and follow them up with long spells of top control and damaging strikes. Eventually Siler's grappling dominance won out, Steven Siler by unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28).

High point:

Really this was a fight of positional dominance and heart. Both fighters took a lot of damage and, Siler especially, showed that he's got decent skills in all areas of MMA.

Low point:

Mostly the striking. Siler looked polished with his punches, but his lack of defensive movement and extremely formulaic combinations put him at an extreme defensive liability. As for Holobaugh, he appears to have taken a page out of the TUF brawler playbook, and spent much of his time on the feet winging innacurate hooks when a few straight punches probably would have given him a much larger advantage.

What's next?

For Siler, he's proven that he's a cut above the bottom of the featherweight division. Unfortunately he didn't show anything new in this fight, and considering that he lost rather decidedly to mid division gatekeeper Darren Elkins, he's carving out a nice little niche as a first test for UFC newcomers. If he can string together a few more wins that may change, but he needs to polish his skills if he wants to get past the middle of the division. I'd suggest Eddie Yagin, when he recovers from his injury, or maybe Andy Ogle.

Holobaugh, as well, showed a troubling lack of progression. The gameplan that we saw fail to get past Pat Healy, was the same one that he used against Siler and it failed for the exact same reasons. He's got a lot of guts and a lot of power, but if he can't develop takedown defence and accuracy he'll be looking at a pink slip soon. If he's still in the UFC after this loss I'd give him Yaotzin Meza and see if one of them can turn themselves into a prospect.

Watch it now, later, or never?

Watch it now-ish. It wasn't a bad fight at all, but it wasn't a particularly skilled fight either. Siler had a lot of dominant position, but failed repeatedly on submission attempts, and the striking was pretty poor. Watch it for its fun action value, but I wouldn't consider it a must see fight.

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