Despite both Steven Siler and Darren Elkins entering the UFC's featherweight division after major losses, each man has slowly and quietly spent the last year building tremendous momentum under the radar.
With three consecutive wins each, this fight would give the ultra-competitive division a dark horse challenger for 2013.
Elkins won this fight by unanimous decision and is now 4-0 in the UFC featherweight division.
What we'll remember about this fight
The dominance of Darren Elkins. He wanted this fight on the ground, and he got his wish for the vast majority of the contest. Looking for submissions at several moments and when that didn't work, he didn't mind bloodying Siler with ground and pound.
What we learned about Darren Elkins
That his pressure only getting better. Siler needed to fight from a distance to have an advantage in this bout, and Elkins wouldn't give him an inch. This pressure allowed him to earn takedowns in each round and had a body triangle from the back for the majority of Round 2.
We also learned that Elkins isn't content with his decision victories. Looking for a guillotine in the first round, the wrestler surprised Siler by pulling guard and locking up a Cody McKenzie-style choke.
What we learned about Steven Siler
That his bottom game is pretty solid. He did a good job of regaining guard after Elkins gained a dominant position, and once there, the TUF fighter did a good job of controlling posture and throwing short shots.
If his ability to regain guard impressed you, then you must have loved his incredible submission defense. For the majority of Round 2, Siler fended off several rear-naked choke attempts, all while throwing back elbows to do damage. Also, the guillotine choke that he escaped late in Round 1 showed incredible heart, resilience and technique.
What's next for Darren Elkins
4-0 in his new division is a major statement. Elkins will get a step up in competition, and I think that will come in the form of former WEC champion Mike Brown.
What's next for Steven Siler
This loss will only make Siler stronger. He has already defeated a UFC notable in Cole Miller, so don't expect any sort of easy fight to come next. If the loser of tonight's Mark Hominick vs. Pablo Garza fight still has a job on Monday morning, they would make a good stylistic matchup.
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