The UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort PPV opens with an interesting battle in the Featherweight division. It's a clash of styles as striker Cub Swanson (17-5 MMA; 2-1 UFC) faces submission stylist Charles Oliveira (16-2(1) MMA; 4-2(1) UFC). Both men are ranked in the lower end of the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings with Swanson at #19 and Oliveira at #24. The UFC 152 PPV airs live Saturday night September 22 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
I quite like this fight and am glad it's being featured on the PPV. This is a battle between two talented and interesting, if somewhat flawed, Featherweight prospects. Both men are coming in on back to back impressive wins, and both have shown that, at their best, they can compete with top names at 145. This is an excellent chance for one to take a big step up in front of the PPV audience.
How do these two stack up?
Swanson: 28 years old | 5'7"
Oliveira: 22 years old | 5'10" | 73" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Cub Swanson was a fixture of the WEC's Featherweight division, going 5-3 for the company from 2007-2010. When the WEC was merged with the UFC, Swanson sat out a year due to injuries and came back in a loss to Ricardo Lamas. Between his near .500 WEC record, his time off, and his debut loss, I wrote him off as a relevant name in the UFC. But Swanson surprised me, coming back with a pair of very impressive wins over Roop and Pearson. Swanson is a tough fighter who favors the stand-up game. He trains with Greg Jackson, though is by no means the slow, strategic fighter Jackson is often painted as producing. He's really found his groove lately, and this is his chance to prove he's here to stay.
Charles "Do Bronx" Oliveira came into the UFC in 2010 at the age of 20 and quickly made a name for himself. With a pair of impressive submission wins in the Lightweight division, Oliveira looked on the fast track to contender status. But he ran into problems with a 3 fight winless streak that saw loses to Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone, and a No Contest against Nik Lentz. His hype largely gone, Oliveira opted to drop down to Featherweight. Since that move, he's a perfect 2-0, with one of his wins coming via calf slicer in a submission of the year candidate. He's regained that hype at 145 - now he needs to capitalize on it.
Why should you care?
These are two very exciting fighters and should make for a great fight. Both are sudden finishers as well, plus the winner will put himself into the realm of future contender. It's a perfect PPV opener.
More UFC 152 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.