Glendale Fighting Club's Manny Gamburyan drops hard-fought unanimous decision to Dennis Siver

LAS VEGAS — Manny Gamburyan might well have turned in one of his more inspired performances Saturday night at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

His striking held up, he got his share of takedowns and he went for submissions.

But counterpart Dennis Siver was simply a bit better in every facet, as Siver defeated Gamburyan via a three-round unanimous decision with 29-28 scores across the board in their featherweight fight.

Gamburyan (13-8), who was cornered by Glendale Fighting Club’s Edmond Tarverdyan, George Bastrmajyan and Andy Derminjian, had a two-fight winning streak snapped by Siver, the seventh-ranked UFC featherweight. Gamburyan also said that he injured his leg in the first round, hampering his performance going forward.

“I hurt my knee badly in the [first] round,” Gamburyan said. “I went in for a takedown and I felt it twist and then give. It’s was a nagging injury from training camp that came to the forefront again. It was very difficult for me to move and defend after that.”

Siver (22-9), who has now won three of four fights and seven of nine, used his strong kickboxing game and, perhaps surprisingly, takedowns and submission attempts against Gamburyan, who’s lauded for his grappling game.

“This was a very important win for me because last time I fought in Las Vegas I lost,” Siver said. “I really wanted to show the UFC fans what I could do out there, but the game plan didn’t go exactly how we planned. The strategy was to keep it on the feet and maintain my distance. Still, we were able to pull out a win, so I’m pleased with the result.”

In reality, both fighters showcased their all-around games and the fight, which was televised live on Fox Sports 1, was tied on the cards going into the third round. Siver used a takedown, a rear-naked choke attempt and steady ground and pound to decisively win the round and the fight, though.

In the first round, Gamburyan took the center of the octagon and Siver quickly established kicks to get distance. Not long after, Gamburyan waded in with rights and lefts but none landed with significance.

Gamburyan rushed in again and took him down with a leg sweep and landed some hammerfists. From his back, Gamburyan worked for an armbar before Siver moved into his guard. After some Siver ground and pound, Gamburyan worked it back to the feet.

A kickboxing match ensued, with neither landing all that well, but Siver was the more active fighter. Siver began to land some solid leg kicks, but Gamburyan threw a haymaker right that led him to a takedown. He then dropped down for a leg lock, but couldn’t get it and Siver rained down some big left hands before taking Gamburyan’s back standing and going for a rear-naked choke. Gamburyan would weather the storm as the round expired.

The German fighter came out in the second and began throwing kicks again. Gamburyan threw a huge right hand that missed and looked to take a punch and go to the ground. He stood and waved Siver in.

Gamburyan then shot for a single leg and secured a takedown. Siver did well tying up Gamburyan in his guard and was just as active with strikes from the bottom as Gamburyan was from the top. Gamburyan was able to land his best strike of the fight with a big elbow from the top that busted open Siver’s forehead. Gamburyan later landed some good rights, but they allowed Siver to kick him off and stand up. Gamburyan would shoot in for another takedown and picked Siver up around the waste for a slam. Gamburyan was able to ride out the rest of the round in top position, landing some solid punches from the top to take the round.

With the fight coming down to the final round, Siver came out aggressively, but Gamburyan continued his approach of picking his shots and throwing big punches. The bout was paused, though, when Gamburyan took a left kick for a damaging low blow. Immediately after the restart, Siver ducked a Gamburyan left and notched a takedown. He went to work from the top with punches as Gamburyan worked for a Kimura for the submission or to sweep. Siver poured down punches to the ribs as blood poured down from his forehead as well. Gamburyan starting wriggling free, but Siver scrambled well and took his back for a second time in the fight and worked for the choke. Siver worked more ground and pound and kept vying for the choke. He wouldn’t get it, but he maintained position and kept throwing to solidify the round and the fight.

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