It was a relatively good night of fights at UFC Nashville, capped off by Cub Swanson having a tougher-than-expected but still clear unanimous decision win over Artem Lobov. There were plenty of good moments for Lobov, but Swanson’s speed, timing, and diverse striking were too much for Artem down the stretch. He definitely has a hell of a chin, as even when fatigued he took flush shots from Cub and didn’t go down.
Grading on a curve, did this justify Lobov’s spot as a UFC headliner? No, not really. At least to me. There’s no reason for Frankie Edgar-Yair Rodriguez to be three rounds on the UFC 211 PPV when it could’ve very well headlined a Fight Night on its own. We know the real reason Lobov got the main event in the first place (by being Conor McGregor’s teammate), so the onus was really on him to be reasonably competitive enough so that we couldn’t call this a total farce. At a minimum, he was better than the Artem Lobov who somehow couldn’t strike with Alex White. By no means do I think he’s top-15 caliber, but at least he’s established himself as credible featherweight depth based off of tonight’s loss and the win he had vs. Teruto Ishihara.
More thoughts on tonight’s card:
- FS1 pacing is garbage. I can’t imagine anyone who thinks UFC shows on cable TV need to end after 1 AM ET. Most PPVs don’t even do that!
- Todd Grisham is competent as a UFC play-by-play guy but I don’t think it goes anymore beyond that. Some of the inane questions he was asking to Brian Stann (i.e should Sam Alvey try and go to the ground with Thales Leites?) were cringeworthy, but I don’t know how much of that is just a natural broadcast set-up for Stann to put in his expert analysis. If it wasn’t that then Grisham provides occasional Mike Goldberg-esque moments for those who miss Goldie.
- Swanson wants a title shot against the Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway winner. I love Cub Swanson but it’s hard to envision him being competitive with either one of those two in a rematch, especially Holloway, who dominated Cub in 2015. Now if we can get Swanson vs. Chan Sung Jung, I’m all for it.
- Al Iaquinta decked Diego Sanchez with one right hand and then put him to sleep the next time he landed that right hand. What a way for Ragin’ Al to make his UFC return, and hopefully he’s back in there against actual top-15 competition soon.
- The damn has finally burst and I’m really at the point where I expect Diego Sanchez to get KO’d by anyone with good, powerful striking. You can’t hang onto the past forever. Diego has taken serious damage that will undoubtedly have negative long-term effects on his health. It was only a matter of “when” and not “if” he’d suffer a proper knockout loss, and he’s been destroyed twice in less than a year. I hope the UFC gives him matchmaking that’s more suited to fun scrambles than rolling the dice for another classic Diego brawl. I want the Diego brawling days to be over for his own good.
- Ovince Saint Preux had a patient opening round against Marcos Rogerio de Lima, then took him down in round two, busted his face open with elbows, and won by Von Flue choke again. He’s got to be the only fighter in UFC history to have multiple Von Flue choke wins. Zane Simon was on BE Twitter and captured my thoughts perfectly.
OSP taps de Lima with a Von Flue because LHW is trash. #UFCNashville— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) April 23, 2017
- OSP’s contract is either up or about to be up, judging by his post-fight interview. LHW is awful but he’s still ranked in the top-10, so it’ll be interesting to see if he becomes the latest 205’er to not be re-signed by the UFC.
- John Dodson was much too fast for Eddie Wineland, who barely laid a finger on “The Magician.” It was a comfortable win for Dodson, but it wasn’t exactly a scintillating bout. Wineland didn’t even land 15 strikes in a fight that was exclusively spent on the feet.
- Joe Lauzon pummeled Steven Ray for the whole of round 1, but Lauzon’s dreaded cardio problems cost him the win, as Ray rallied to win rounds 2 and 3, including a pivotal 10-8 on two scorecards for the third to get him a majority decision. What a win for Stevie Ray in a very entertaining bout. His boxing, toughness, and conditioning made the difference.
- Jeff Mullan scoring a 10-9 round 1 for Lauzon (or Lozon, I suppose) is absolutely nuts. I cannot fathom that 29-27 scorecard. You can’t tell me that round 1 was anything other than a 10-8.
- On the 11th anniversary of Anderson Silva’s famous elbow KO of Tony Fryklund, Mike Perry overcame a slow start and wrecked Jake Ellenberger with a spectacular elbow of his own. That’ll hold up as one of the best knockouts of the year. Love or hate Perry, he’s entertaining to watch, and he possesses serious power. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends the year in the top-10 of the welterweight division.
- Thales Leites threw a lot of hard kicks, Sam Alvey barely threw anything, Thales had terrible takedowns, Alvey got hit in the groin and poked in the eye. Leites got a shutout win, even though I don’t completely agree with giving him all three rounds. That’s all you need to know from this dreadful bout.
- Hot damn, Brandon Moreno! Dustin Ortiz is a tough out, and to become the first guy to finish him is one hell of an achievement. I thought the head kick put Ortiz out cold, but then he submitted him unconscious anyway with the rear-naked choke. If the wins over Louis Smolka and Ryan Benoit didn’t convince you, stopping Ortiz should have you excited about the 23-year-old’s potential as a future champion.
- Scott Holtzman beat the hell out of Michael McBride and did everything but get the finish against the awkward grappler. McBride ... really cannot strike. He’s definitely tough (and Holtzman isn’t some vicious power puncher), but shouldn’t really be in the UFC.
- Danielle Taylor had her third close bout in as many UFC outings, this time getting a 29-28 decision over Jessica Penne, who has now lost three straight since fighting Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the strawweight title. Taylor looked better tonight than in her previous two appearances, and she’ll likely be in the top-15 by virtue of toppling the #14-ranked Penne.
- Alexis Davis spoiled Cindy Dandois’ Octagon debut with a unanimous decision win that was extremely rough to watch, especially the last two rounds. Dandois has some of the worst striking I’ve ever seen in a UFC fight, and Davis somehow wasn’t convincingly winning stand-up exchanges with her. Davis’ aggressive work from her guard offset her disappointing takedown defense, and I assume that’s why she won this contest. Burn the tape and let’s never speak of this disaster again.
- Joe Proctor was taunting and goading Bryan Barberena into a slugfest, and Barberena responded by melting him with a right hook and a series of knees. You can’t try and be a Diaz brother if you don’t have a Diaz brother’s chin, Joe.
- Hector Sandoval notched his first UFC win by powerbombing his way out of a guillotine and then knocking Matt Schnell out with hammerfists from the guard. Team Alpha Male has another exciting prospect in its stable.