Have you had enough UFC in your lives yet? Of course you haven’t! Rest is for the weak! So, yet again, more UFC is on its way to you with yet another Fight Night card on Saturday, April 22. You might be forgiven if you see what the main event on this particular card is, and you scratch your head and think to yourself, “That’s it?”
However, UFC Fight Night 108 headliner Cub Swanson is coming off a “Fight of the Year”-worthy performance in his victory over Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206 last year. Now, he faces Artem Lobov, who sports an overall underwhelming record of 14-12-1, even though he’s won back-to-back fights in the Octagon. But with a nickname like “The Russian Hammer,” Lobov at least offers the possibility of a not-boring performance, and we know that Swanson is almost incapable of having a boring fight.
Speaking of non-boring fights, the co-main event features Al Iaquinta and Diego Sanchez. Iaquinta is apparently over his grievances against the UFC. He is known for exciting performances. We all know what Sanchez is capable of bringing to the cage, so even if some of the match-ups leave you a little cock-eyed, the quality of the fights themselves should not be in question.
The UFC Fight Pass preliminary card starts at 6:30 p.m. ET, with the Fox Sports 2 preliminary card starting at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the main card on Fox Sports 1 at 10 p.m. ET. Before this card in Music City, a.k.a. Nashville, Tenn., gets underway, Combat Press writers Chris Huntemann and Dan Kuhl are together again to get you ready for the action.
The main card of this event contains a number of fighters who are looking to regain some lost momentum. Which main-card fighter scores the most impressive victory on Saturday night?
Kuhl: Of all the main-card fighters, the one most badly in need of a win is Ovince St. Preux. He is sitting with three losses in a row, which started with his interim title shot against Jon Jones — remember that guy? — almost exactly one year ago. OSP followed the title loss with his second career knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa and then a split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir in February. St. Preux took a hard fall from the top of the heap, but he is still sitting at No. 8 in the division and will be looking for a big win in Nashville, which is only a two and a half hour drive from his gym in Knoxville. However, this will be no easy task against an opponent like Marcos Rogério de Lima.
De Lima is a fantastic kickboxer who is currently sitting at 4-2 in the UFC. He won his last fight in January with a knockout of short-notice replacement Jeremy Kimball at the midpoint of round one in their clash in Denver. He’s out to string together a couple wins in a row. However, OSP has been around a long time.
St. Preux is fighting in front of his hometown, and he needs a win to prevent a potential cut from the promotion. The Tennessee fighter is going to come out guns blazing, and he will most likely end this one in quick and orderly fashion. OSP takes this one to the ground early and earns a TKO victory to keep hope alive.
Huntemann: Personally, I’m hoping Jake Ellenberger has an incredibly impressive performance — an epic knockout — against Mike Perry, because, well, Perry is a less than savory character, and that’s being kind. Don’t know what I mean? Google “Mike Perry UFC” and you’ll find everything you need to know, and that’s all the pub the guy deserves.
Elsewhere, Cub Swanson should follow up on his epic performance at UFC 206, adding an incredible finish to his resume against Artem Lobov to become the next contender for the featherweight title. Swanson came close to title contention before, until he lost back-to-back fights to current interim featherweight champion Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar. But Swanson looks like a brand-new fighter since then, and he’ll stake his claim to a title shot by beating Lobov. I give “The Russian Hammer” credit for stepping up to the plate. Lobov has won two in a row, but Swanson is his toughest test, by far.
If Swanson emerges victorious over Lobov and is rewarded with a featherweight title shot, we can all look forward to another entertaining performance against either Holloway or the reigning featherweight champion, José Aldo. Swanson is just incapable of putting the crowd to sleep, though he is extremely capable of doing so to his opponent.
Cindy Dandois — do we need to know this name?
Huntemann: Have you seen her Twitter and Instagram? You totally need to know who she is (Oh come on, we were all thinking it). In all seriousness, Dandois is another talented fighter from the ranks of Invicta FC who is making the jump to the UFC. She won two in a row, including a victory over current Invicta featherweight champion Megan Anderson, after losing her Invicta debut to current bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger.
Dandois has basically split her eight overall victories between knockouts and submissions. Her previous two wins in Invicta came by the latter method. She’s skilled and dangerous in multiple areas, but Dandois has a pretty good opponent for her UFC debut.
Savvy MMA veteran Alexis Davis lost her last fight to the surging Sara McMann after taking an extended leave of absence to become a mother. Prior to the loss, Davis had only suffered one defeat in the UFC, and that was to then-bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. Davis has competed in MMA 24 times since 2007, whereas Dandois only has 10 pro fights to her credit since 2009. Davis will present a stiff test to see if Dandois is ready to hang with the best in the UFC.
Kuhl: I agree. Dandois is definitely a very impressive fighter, and a name everyone should know. When it comes to her fights, it’s usually a finish-or-be-finished affair, and the only time she went the distance was in her pro debut against one of the greatest pioneers of women’s MMA, Marloes Coenen. Dandois is a black belt in judo, but she has clearly shown that she can take the fight anywhere. This fight will be a big test for both her and her opponent.
Prior to the Rousey loss, Davis was widely considered one of the best female fighters in the world. It was unfortunate to see her drop her return to McMann, but McMann’s a tough opponent to return to after a 20-month layoff. It will be interesting to see how Davis returns after she was able to shake out the cobwebs in December.
Dandois is one to watch, but this will be her toughest opponent to date. Davis is ready to get back to her winning ways, and she will be happy to welcome Dandois to the Octagon. Davis takes this one by submission.
Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?
Kuhl: I’m really excited to see Dustin Ortiz and Brandon Moreno clash at this event.
Ortiz is a nine-fight UFC vet who has never been stopped, and Moreno is on a 10-fight winning streak, stopping nearly every opponent along the way. Moreno is coming off a rare split decision victory over Ryan Benoit in December. Ortiz is coming off a pretty common split decision victory, also in December. Both men are looking to make a run at the flyweight championship. This is one you won’t want to miss.
Huntemann: I’m going to let my personal bias shine through once again and say that the FS1 prelim bout between “Smile’n” Sam Alvey and Thales Leites is one you want to keep an eye on. Both guys are knocking on the door of the top 10 in the middleweight division, and both men could use the other’s name on their resume. Leites has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best at 185 pounds, including a close fight against current middleweight champion Michael Bisping.
Alvey has won four in a row and will have one of his toughest tests in recent memory when he faces Leites. Plus, I had the pleasure of speaking to Alvey previously (shameless plug alert!) and he’s just such a darn nice fellow. I mean, really. Who doesn’t like “Smile’n” Sam?
Pair this card with…
Huntemann: This fight card will only have to tide us over for a couple weeks until the awesomeness that is UFC 211 is bestowed upon us next month. So, in that vein, I recommend enjoying a full, hearty meal before sitting down to watch this card, so you’re not tempted to raid the fridge. Indulge in as many courses as you want. Hell, go to one of those restaurants that offer a tasting menu with 20 different courses. Go nuts.
Kuhl: While the free cards on Fox Sports have become some of the best cards out there, the commercial downtime between fights can be somewhat frustrating. There are a ton of fights on this one that have the potential for a stoppage, so, without citing anything specific, it will be important to have short activities to soak up the downtime. I plan on having strategically spread out snacks, a full-charged computer, and a handful of chores, because this card is likely to have some big gaps.
|Fight||Kuhl’s Pick||Huntemann’s Pick|
|Main Card (Fox Sports 1, 10 p.m. ET)|
|FW: Cub Swanson vs. Artem Lobov||Swanson||Swanson|
|LW: Al Iaquinta vs. Diego Sanchez||Iaquinta||Iaquinta|
|LHW: Ovince St. Preux vs. Marcos Rogério de Lima||St. Preux||de Lima|
|BW: John Dodson vs. Eddie Wineland||Dodson||Dodson|
|LW: Joe Lauzon vs. Stevie Ray||Lauzon||Lauzon|
|WW: Jake Ellenberger vs. Mike Perry||Perry||Ellenberger|
|Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 2, 8 p.m. ET)|
|MW: Thales Leites vs. Sam Alvey||Alvey||Alvey|
|FlyW: Dustin Ortiz vs. Brandon Moreno||Moreno||Ortiz|
|LW: Scott Holtzman vs. Michael McBride||Holtzman||Holtzman|
|Women’s StrawW: Jessica Penne vs. Danielle Taylor||Penne||Penne|
|Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)|
|Women’s BW: Cindy Dandois vs. Alexis Davis||Davis||Dandois|
|LW: Bryan Barberena vs. Joe Proctor||Barberena||Barberena|
|FlyW; Hector Sandoval vs. Matt Schnell||Schnell||Schnell|