Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee for UFC Fight Night 108: “Swanson vs. Lobov” by Daniel Tom

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Cub Swanson (24-7)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’8″ Age: 33 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Doo Ho Choi (12-10-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Black Belt BJJ
+   11 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   7 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Good footwork & movement
^   Stance-switches, shifts & darts
+   Creative offensive flow
^   From boxing to cartwheel kicks
+/-Often keeps low standing guard
^   Heavily reliant on head movement
+   Underrated wrestling ability
^   Improved hips, frames & fundamentals
+   Solid transitional grappler

Artem Lobov (13-12-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 30 Weight: 145 lbs Reach: 65″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Teruto Ishihara (11-19-16)
  • Camp: SBG Ireland (Ireland)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Switch-stance / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Blue Belt BJJ
+   8 KO victories
+   2 Submission wins
+   2 first round finishes
+   KO Power
+   Dangerous counter strikes
^   Slips well and returns
+   Accurate left hand—right hook
+   Solid leg kicks
+/-Often keeps low standing guard
^   Heavily reliant on head movement
+   Deceptively strong inside the clinch
+   Underrated grappling
^   Improved defense & positional awareness


The main event in Nashville is an all-action affair at featherweight as Cub Swanson takes on Artem Lobov.

Coming off a fight of the year performance last December against Doo Ho Choi, Cub Swanson will make his return to the main event stage as he attempts to capitalize on this showcase opportunity.

Standing in his way is Artem Lobov, a finalist on TUF 22 and close friend to Conor McGregor. Looking to recreate his run on the Ultimate Fighter, Lobov will once again attempt to make his training partner proud and prove his doubters wrong.

In a fight booking that had many, including myself, double-checking the source of tweets, I was admittedly hesitant in what exactly to make of all this. However, with the bout just around the bend, I find my optimism growing in what I feel will be a more competitive affair than what most may expect.

Starting off standing, Lobov will certainly have his best chances on paper, but Swanson is still the more technical striker who should carry an overall edge.

One of the organization’s more prolific offensive artists, Swanson shows all the attributes you would want in an action-fighter. Although his movements may seem sporadic at times, there is a method to Swanson’s madness as he seldom moves against momentum.

Whether he is shifting his stance to throw liver kicks from southpaw or darting off of his favored lead right-hand, Swanson is ultimately looking to initiate the reactions that will allow for his opposition to open themselves up inadvertently.

Working with Yoel Diaz for many years, Swanson’s boxing influence shines through in his follow-up punches as he variates brilliantly to the body. That said, I feel that Swanson’s kicking arsenal may come in handy with this particular matchup.

Accurately prodding with inside and outside leg kicks, Cub could certainly test the checking abilities of his counterpart. Although Lobov has made marked improvements to his implementation of leg kicks, those upgrades have primarily shown to be offensive ones.

Considering Swanson’s ability to dictate range with footwork, I expect the Southern California native to abuse his advantages at this range early against an aggressive power puncher.

That said, Swanson will, of course, need to be weary of the counters Lobov keeps at the ready as countering is the actual heart of his game. Even when looking at earlier stages of Lobov’s career, you can see the stylistic impressions of Conor McGregor and SBG Ireland.

Despite sometimes wading forward with a low-handed guard, Lobov has demonstrated a knack for the inside and outside slips as he returns with his left hand in a similar fashion to his stablemate, Conor McGregor. However, Lobov will also incorporate awkward angles to his shots as he often casts his punches off of the counter.

Even though Lobov primarily makes his money with his left hand, I feel that his right, especially if thrown as a check, may see some light in this fight.

Swanson, who despite being the speedier and more sound striker, is heavily reliant on his head movement and reactions times. Couple that with his aggressive, high-paced style, and you will see that Swanson gets caught often. In fact, right hands off the counter are usually the common culprit as Swanson has been significantly hit or stunned by those shots in 5 of his last 6-fights.

Nevertheless, Swanson will have a solid Plan B he can exercise should striking stanzas not fair his way. Although he has only clocked 13-takedown attempts in his last 31-rounds of fighting, Swanson showed marked improvements to his overall wrestling fundamentals in recent fights, displaying his growth in areas that traditionally troubled him.

With takedown defense always being a priority for Lobov, it will be interesting to see how Swanson approaches his grappling intentions, if at all. Though Lobov parlays his low standing guard into shot defense, the Russian-born fighter has shown he is not beyond having his kicks or overall aggression timed.

Should these two end up on the mat, the advantage will still reside with Swanson as he is an experienced Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

That said, I do not expect stanzas on the mat to last long given Lobov’s improved positional awareness and Swanson’s propensity to transition liberally from topside. Unless Swanson hurts Lobov first, I do not expect any quick finishes on the floor that don’t involve cooking first.

Ultimately, I see Lobov’s chin and submission defense keeping in this fight early as Swanson exercises his options at range and attempts to overwhelm him. Considering that Lobov has a tendency to tire come the third round, he will need to find his counter shot early before Swanson smells him slowing. If not, then I suspect Swanson to eventually force the opening he wants as he will likely win via an accumulation of strikes.

Official Pick: Swanson – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Swanson – Decision

Al Iaquinta (12-3-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’9″ Age: 29 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 70″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Jorge Masvidal (4-4-15)
  • Camp: Serra-Longo Fight Team (New York)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   BJJ Purple Belt
+   Collegiate Wrestling Exp.
+   6 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   4 first round finishes
+   Good footwork
^   Manages distance well
+   Solid boxing technique
^   Puts together punches well
+   Hard leg kicks
+   Excellent wrestling ability
^   Defensively & offensively
+   Good transitional grappler
+/-0-1 against UFC Southpaws
–    1st fight in 2 years

Diego Sanchez (27-9)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’10” Age: 35 Weight: 155 lbs Reach: 72″
  • Last Fight: Decision win / Marcin Held (11-5-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   TUF 1 Winner
+   BJJ Black Belt
+   Multiple Grappling Accolades
+   6 KO victories
+   9 Submission wins
+   11 first round finishes
+   Relentless pace & pressure
^   Well-conditioned
+   Hard left Thai kick
+/-Propensity to brawl
^   Counter availabilities
+   Strong pressure against fence
^   Favors double-leg takedowns
+   Active & effective scrambler
^   Excellent back-takes
–    Dropped/hurt in 8 of last 12-fights


The co-main event for UFC Nashville is a potential barnburner in the lightweight division as “Raging” Al Iaquinta takes on Diego “Lionheart” Sanchez.

A finalist from the live season of The Ultimate Fighter, Al Iaquita would quickly make his mark on the division by going on a 7-1 run. And though contract disputes have kept him from the cage since his controversial win over Jorge Masvidal back in April of 2015, Iaquinta will now make his return as he looks to build on a 4-fight winning streak.

Standing in the Long Islander’s way is the original Ulitmate Fighter, Diego Sanchez. Despite the veteran garnering mixed results in recent years, Sanchez showed us that he still has what it takes to compete with the young lions of lightweight as he beat Marcin Held last November.

In matchup filled with intangibles, action can be the only thing you can count on happening when these two collide. Though I am not sure I agree on the inflation of the betting lines, I do agree with the oddsmakers in regards to Al Iaquinta being the deserved favorite in this fight.

Starting off on the feet, I expect the Long Islander to have his biggest on-paper advantages. A natural striker, Iaquinta puts together his punches well as you will seldom see him throw himself out of position.

An effective striker going forward or backward, Iaquinta will patiently prod and mix things up until finding this rhythm. Once establishing his range, Iaquinta will seamlessly pick up his pace, especially when sensing his opponent is hurt.

That said, Al Iaquinta has been outside of competition for two years as I suspect it will likely take him the better part of a round to get his timing and tempo in order.

Despite not being your most technical striker, Sanchez is more than equipped to make Al Iaquinta’s adjusting period uncomfortable. Typically associated with aggressively wading forward, Sanchez has cleaned up his technique in recent years, incorporating more feints and fakes upon his approach.

In addition to hard, hooking punches, Sanchez also adds in a dangerous Thai kick from his power side that he variates well between the body and head. That said, Sanchez will need to be careful when kicking to the lower or mid ranges as Iaquinta has a knack for catching kicks and countering.

Nevertheless, should Iaquinta take too long to get comfortable, he could find himself playing defense early and catch-up late.

Where this fight goes from fun to fire is whenever these two touch the floor. Both fighters are scramble-heavy grapplers who are not shy about advancing position and going for submissions. However, both men also come from wrestling bases as their strong defensive acumen may keep shot attempts and grappling stanzas shorter than expected.

Though Iaquinta is not beyond diving for a heel hook, I would have to imagine he avoids that entry in this particular matchup. Not only is the risk versus reward factor not in the Long Islander’s favor, but Sanchez also has good leg-lock defense as it was on full display in his last outing.

If Iaquinta does end up on the bottom, he will need to be particularly careful when returning to his feet given the back-take acumen of Sanchez(something I feel he does not get enough credit for). And though Iaquinta’s defense has improved throughout his career, it is hard to forecast where he is at now, especially given the two years of inactivity.

Ultimately, I suggest staying away from any major plays on the favorite for the current asking prices.

Despite the statistics saying that Sanchez’s durability may be fleeting, he still possesses the qualities to make this matchup, like his last, a trap fight. But, if Iaquinta comes in fully prepared and free from ill feelings, he should be able to find his groove and take over what I feel will be a fun, competitive affair.

Official Pick: Iaquinta – Decision

Official Outcome: Iaquinta – KO (round 1)

John Dodson (18-8)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’3″ Age: 32 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 66″
  • Last Fight: Decision loss / John Lineker (10-1-16)
  • Camp: Jackson-Wink MMA (New Mexico)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Southpaw / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Title
+   13 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   8 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Devastating left hand
^   Accurate & intercepting
+   Athletic & agile
^   Closes distance quickly
+   Dangerous off of the counter
^   Works well w/caught kicks
+   Solid counter wrestler
^   Superb scrambles & get-ups
+/-Low standing guard
^   Heavily reliant on movement

Eddie Wineland (23-11-1)

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’7″ Age: 32 Weight: 135 lbs Reach: 69″
  • Last Fight: TKO win / Takeya Mizugaki (12-17-16)
  • Camp: Duneland Vale Tudo (Indiana)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   WEC Bantamweight Title
+   14 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Good feints & footwork
^   Uses to draw & counter
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Favors right hand
+   Strong inside the clinch
+   Excellent wrestling ability
^   85% takedown defense
+   Underrated grappler
+/-Low standing guard
^   Heavily reliant on head movement


In a fun bantamweight fight, John “The Magician” Dodson takes on the dangerous Eddie Wineland.

Coming off a close decision loss to John Lineker last October, John Dodson has otherwise looked rejuvenated since returning to 135-pounds. Now, with a longtime bantamweight before him, Dodson will attempt to get back on the fast track with a win here.

Looking to spoil the party is Eddie Wineland, a former WEC champion who has been doing well in this most recent resurgence. Riding the momentum of two stoppage wins, Wineland will look to come through as one of the bigger underdogs on the card.

Although I do agree with the oddsmakers making Dodson a clear favorite, I do not think that the line should be so wide as I feel there are paths for Wineland here.

Despite the defensive liabilities of his low hands, Wineland possesses attributes to his game that have traditionally troubled Dodson—pressure and footwork.

Similar to a lighter weight Chuck Liddell, Dodson will steadily revert to hanging back by the inner-black Octagon lines as he looks for devastating counters. With a left hand that is as deadly as it is accurate, Dodson often does enough damage to sway the fight in his favor whether or not he gets the stop.

The problem, however, is that Dodson sometimes has a habit of lulling action, especially when being pressured. As we saw in his fights from Demetrious Johnson to John Linker, Dodson has his hardest moments of the fight when being pressured in various ways.

That said, both Demeterious Johnson and John Lineker have tremendous chins/recoverability as I am not so sure the same can be said for Wineland at this stage. And though his head movement is a bit better than many give him credit for, Wineland’s inherent aggression makes him hittable as Dodson will certainly have his chances to close the show.

Couple Dodson’s deadly punches with his recent work with Brandon Gibson, and we could see even more of those wicked Thai kicks off of his feints and punches that were so effective in his last outing.

Regardless of which way the shootout goes standing, I suspect things will largely stay there given each fighters sensibilities. Dodson, only seems to go for takedowns when either he or his opponent his hurt, whereas Wineland seldom shoots at all. And given that both men are hard to hold(and even harder to ground), this bout should ultimately be settled standing.

Though defensive and overall on-paper advantages may be on Dodson’s side, let us not forget that he is still small for bantamweight as he will be facing one the division’s heaviest hitters. If Dodson does not do well early, I could see a scenario where Wineland comes back to steal two cards via his volume.

For that reason, I recommend strong caution in playing this inflated line heavily. Nevertheless, the pick here is Dodson as his speed and precision should pay dividends.

Official Pick: Dodson – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Dodson – Decision

Main Card Predictions:

  • Swanson def. Lobov
  • Iaquinta def. Sanchez
  • Saint Preux def. De Lima
  • Dodson def. Wineland
  • Ray def. Lauzon
  • Perry def. Ellenberger

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Alvey def. Leites
  • Ortiz def. Moreno
  • Holtzman def. McBride
  • Davis def. Dandois
  • Barberena def. Proctor
  • Sandoval def. Schnell

Recommended Plays:

Props worth looking at(

-Swanson ITD: -175 (2 Units)
-Alvey ITD: +320 (0.5 Unit)
-Dandois/Davis under 2 1/2: +110 (.25 Unit)
-Perry by KO +130: (1 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Bryan Barberena
-Stevie Ray
-Scott Holtzman

Fights to avoid:

-Sanchez vs Iaquinta
-Saint Preux vs De Lima
-Ortiz vs Moreno

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