The perennial featherweight contender engaged Lobov in a brawl in the center of the cage throughout and came out on top by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 50-45) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 108 on Saturday night in Nashville.
Lobov looked his best in the first round, peppering Swanson with leg kicks and landing some of his trademark winging punches and straight lefts. But it was Swanson’s fight from there. “Killer Cub” landed just about everything he threw against the brawler from Russia by way of Ireland — including multiple head kicks and a spinning back elbow. Swanson nearly finished in the second when he had Lobov’s back.
Swanson was willing to play Lobov’s game. Lobov, a longtime training partner of Conor McGregor, is a brawler with heavy hands. But Swanson, the JacksonWinkMMA product, was the victor despite that.
“I knew he was gonna step up to the plate and it was a hell of a fight,” Swanson told Brian Stann afterward.
Lobov, to his credit, took everything Swanson dished out. He was bloodied and bettered — including a nasty cut on his left eyelid which could have stopped the fight — but never seriously hurt.
Swanson (25-7) told Stann he’d like to fight for the featherweight title next, against the winner of the UFC 212 main event between champion Jose Aldo and interim champ Max Holloway in June. The Palm Springs native is deserving. Swanson, 33, has won four straight and 10 of his last 12.
Lobov (13-13-1, 1 NC) saw his stock rise in the loss. The 30-year-old was coming in on a two-fight winning streak, but proved he could at least hang in with one of the top 145-pounders in the world.
Iaquinta (13-3-1) has won five in a row, though he retired last year after a dispute with the UFC and started working as a real-estate agent. The 29-year-old Long Island native had not fought for more than two years, yet still cemented himself as one of the top lightweights in the world.
Afterward, Brian Stann asked Iaquinta who he wanted next. “Raging Al” was reluctant to commit to a return to the Octagon.
“I don’t know,” Iaquinta said. “I’m selling houses. If you’re selling a house, hit me up.”
Sanchez (27-10), the grizzled veteran of many UFC wars, was coming off a win over Marcin Held last November and had won two of three.
Might as well call it the “Saint Preux choke” at this point.
Ovince Saint Preux earned his second Von Flue choke submission in the UFC on the main card, defeating Marcos Rogerio de Lima with it in the second round. OSP also defeated Nikita Krylov with the choke from the top in 2014. Meanwhile, Jason Von Flue, the man the submission was named after, only has one official Von Flue choke on his record.
OSP (20-10) snapped a three-fight losing streak with the victory in his home state of Tennessee. De Lima (15-5-1) missed weight for the second straight time Friday.
Say what you want about the controversial Mike Perry. There is no doubting his sheer, unbridled power. Jake Ellenberger found that out the hard way in the main-card opener Saturday. Perry finished Ellenberger with a vicious right elbow at 1:05 of the second round, a knockout that could be on the list of the year’s best when 2017 is said and done.
Ellenberger won the first round, utilizing a patient, counter-punching game plan with takedowns mixed in. Perry was frustrated, but undaunted. A left hook rocked Ellenberger and turned the tide in the second. It was all Perry from there, with the elbow putting Ellenberger out cold.
Perry (10-1) rebounded from the first loss of his career to Alan Jouban in December. Ellenberger (31-13) has lost four of his last five.
Stevie Ray mounted a comeback to beat Joe Lauzon via majority decision (28-27, 29-27, 28-28). Ray (20-6) lost the first round in dominant fashion, but came back to win the next two — the second via 10-8 — to defeat the veteran.
Brandon Moreno continues to shake up the flyweight division. After earning the worst seed on The Ultimate Fighter 24 last year, the Mexican scrapper moved to 3-0 in the UFC with a second-round submission (rear-naked choke) win over Dustin Ortiz on the FS2 prelims. Ortiz won the first round and was winning the second until a Moreno head kick turned the tide.
Moreno (14-3) now was two victories over top-15 opponents. Ortiz (16-7) was coming off a split decision win over Zach Makovsky in December.
Also on the FS1 portion of the prelims, Danielle Taylor beat Jessica Penne via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Thales Leites defeated Sam Alvey by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) and Scott Holtzman routed Michael McBride by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
On the Fight Pass prelims, Bryan Barberena finished Joe Proctor via first-round TKO, Hector Sandoval put Matt Schnell to sleep with hammer fists in the first round, and Alexis Davis beat Cindy Dandois by unanimous decision.