In the main event of UFC Fight Night in Nashville, Tennessee, it was expected that Cub Swanson would soundly defeat heavy underdog Artem Lobov. That never materialized, as Lobov turned in a respectable showing, but Swanson was able to pick up a clear unanimous decision win over Conor McGregor’s teammate.
“USA! USA! USA!” chants rang around the Bridgestone Arena at the start of the fight. Lobov took Swanson down but didn’t get much offense going and Swanson was back to his feet. They traded leg kick and Swanson connected on a left hook. Cub planted a big body kick on Artem. Swanson tagged Lobov with a right hand but Lobov responded with a left from southpaw. Lobov was finding success with the leg kicks but he was also eating plenty of right hands. Artem had a good uppercut but Swanson landed a head kick before the round ended, and it was definitely a competitive five minutes.
Lobov kept up with the leg kicks but again was caught by a head kick that stopped him in his tracks for a second. A good left hook by Swanson was countered with a right hand to the temple by Lobov. Artem looked for the trip in the clinch but Swanson was privy to it and scored with knees to the body. Swanson beautifully tossed Lobov to the mat and got his own takedown, hammering home elbows. He had full mount and then back mount, in position to get the rear-naked choke. Lobov stood up and got out of the bad spot, but the round was clearly in Cub’s favor.
Swanson found a home for the left hook twice in early round 3, and that prompted a smile from Cub, who then threw those oblique kicks to the knee. Lobov connected on a straight left but then ate an elbow. Swanson bashed Lobov with a hard right and began teeing off on the noggin of “The Russian Hammer.” A high kick from Swanson and a combination of punches hurt Lobov, who then caught Swanson with a good straight punch to back him up. Herb Dean stopped the fight briefly to check on a cut above Artem’s left eyelid. Lobov was fine and the action resumed with Swanson again drilling Lobov with the left hook. Swanson was in a groove and looking extremely comfortable at the midway point of the fight. Swanson lunged and got in another right hand. A straight right stiffened Lobov up as the round drew to a close, and then Swanson threw a cartwheel kick. Lobov got a knee tap takedown, as if that was ever going to win the round.
Lobov was in on a takedown again in round 4 but Swanson stopped it against the fence. Artem got in a nice right-left combo in one of his better moments since round 1. They clinched up and on the exit Swanson landed a sensational spinning elbow. Lobov’s chin held up to that creative strike. A single by Lobov was stuffed, just as he was scoring with some good punches. Swanson rocked Lobov with a lovely right hand. Both men had their moments in the fourth, but Swanson had the hardest strike with that spinning elbow.
A right hand looked to have dropped Swanson in round 5 but it may have a trip more than anything. Swanson threw knees in the clinch and then prevented Lobov from taking him down. Lobov walked into a right hand and then a left hook and another right hand. The punches from Lobov were labored and Swanson was defending the takedown and getting underhooks. Lobov was hit with a knee from Swanson, whose back was against the fence. Swanson didn’t even make Lobov wobble with a slapping left head kick, but it was a landed strike nevertheless. Swanson judo tossed Lobov right into back mount with under 30 seconds to go. He punched Lobov from back mount, then they traded haymakers to end a pretty entertaining contest.
Official result: Cub Swanson def. Artem Lobov by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45)
Swanson called for a title shot against the Jose Aldo-Max Holloway winner at UFC 212. His most recent defeat was by submission to Holloway in 2015, while Aldo is the only man to ever knock him out. Cub is currently on a four-fight winning streak. Lobov drops to 2-3 in the UFC.