Ramon Taveras competes on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series

The rematch between Contender Series graduates Serhiy Sidey and Ramon Taveras takes place this weekend on the prelims of UFC 297.

These two impressive bantamweights had their first matchup cut short due to an early stoppage, but it was well on its way to being the banger we expected.

You can argue that this rematch didn’t need to happen (at least so soon), but I won’t complain about good matchups. Sidey is hoping to prove it wasn’t a fluke and earn another finish over the powerful counterstriker in Taveras.

Ramon Taveras wouldn’t be denied his UFC opportunity after the Sidey fight, however. He immediately scheduled another bout on the same season of the Contender Series, came in as the underdog and ended the fight in under 30 seconds.

Betting Odds

Sidey was the favorite in the first matchup and opened close to the same odds as before:

Fight Breakdowns

Serhiy Sidey is an interesting bantamweight prospect with a well-rounded skill set. He’s a larger fighter for the weight class at 5’11 and a reach of 72”. His win over Ramon Taveras ended with a controversial stoppage but he did land a nicely executed combination that dropped Taveras in the first round. His power isn’t his best attribute but it is one of the more underrated parts of Sidey’s game.

On the feet, Sidey likes to keep range and use his long 5’11 frame to work his offense from the outside. He has a good jab and effective kicks that he uses to keep this range and set up entries for combinations later in the round. He has a tendency to exchange in firefights in close which isn’t ideal for his style and he often gets caught before exiting. 

The movement of Sidey is one of the more impressive parts of his game. He switches stances often, especially when moving backwards where he likes to plant and fire off a counter from the opposite side. While he attempts to use his footwork to create and keep distance, he often finds himself in range of his opponent and can get caught by surprise when strikes land. 

Another great attribute of Sidey is his endurance. He keeps a good pace on the feet, constantly moving forward with feints and combinations. He’s even effective in the clinch with his knees and body shots that he uses to drain the gas tank of his opponents. That pace stays fairly steady over the entirety of the fight, whether that be three rounds or five.

His opponent for the second straight fight is Ramon Taveras. Taveras, 30, is an extremely powerful striker with crisp boxing. He gets his opponent on the backfoot quickly and is great at cutting off the cage to stay in position to throw when he’s ready. Ramon is explosive and has great hand speed to string together impressive boxing combinations in the pocket.

While his power is the obvious staple to his game, an underrated factor in Ramon’s success is his timing. He’s patient as he stalks his opponent and waits for them to try to fight off the cage. When they do, he’s able to time his strikes as they go to fire and often lands first. Like a boxer would, he mixes his attack up to target the body and does so with both punches and kicks. His kicks hit just as hard as his hands and he’ll fire them to the body when his opponent raises their guard.

Taveras hasn’t been tested too much in the grappling department but when he has, he’s had his ups and downs. While he defends takedowns well once he can utilize his strength with an underhook, he’s slow to react to takedown entries and often allows his opponents to get to the hips before attempting to defend. He does have decent grappling and has racked up 3 submission wins in 11 fights. His fight against Martin Day showed how tight his squeeze is as he put Day to sleep with a guillotine from a very awkward position.

This fight was sure to be one of the better ones of the Contender Series this season and was tainted by an early stoppage in favor of Sidey. While Taveras was finding the mark a lot in the first, Sidey made a great read and pulled him into a stiff 1-2 that dropped him and took the fight to the ground. Taveras was able to recover, but he can’t afford to end up on his back again. Serhiy should be the better wrestler and has the gas tank to last fifteen minutes in a hard fight while Taveras likely will need to keep it on the feet if he wants to pull off a second straight upset.

While Sidey was the first to score a knockdown, the fight was largely going the way of Taveras before the stoppage. Serhiy ate some big shots and was able to stay up but you can’t rely on your chin against a guy like Taveras. He’ll need to create more separation this time around to give himself more situations to pull Taveras in, get him off balance and fire straight shots at range.


The power shots of Taveras were landing well in the first fight and if Taveras is able to back Sidey to the cage, he’s going to be in a very advantageous position. I’m expecting Taveras to continue to grow in his takedown defense and learn to react quicker to these wrestling entries as he trains longer.

If Taveras takes away the takedown threat, I don’t see Sidey competing with him on the feet, especially if he’s forced into a firefight. I love the odds on the underdog Taveras to land enough times on the feet to put Sidey out this time around.

Prediction: Taveras by knockout (+250) – bet now at MyBookie

Best Bet: Taveras to win by knockout in Round 1 (+700) – bet now at MyBookie

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