CURRENT RECORD: 73-43-1
The UFC takes centre stage in Nashville, Tennessee for Fight Night 108. Headlining this card is a featherweight contest between resurgent Cub Swanson and Russian slugger Artem Lobov. Swanson is on a three fight win streak and pushing to make claims for a shot at the champion. Lobov has been handed an amazing opportunity against one of the best in the division, victory here would hand him some bigger fights in the near future. Acting as co-main event will be a lightweight contest between Al “Raging” Iaquinta and “The Nightmare” Diego Sanchez. The rest of this card is jam packed with fun fights including John Dodson versus Eddie Wineland, Stevie Ray taking on Joe Lauzon, Jake Ellenberger faces off against Mike Perry and “Smilin” Sam Alvey steps in to take on Thales Leites. This is a stellar card not to be missed, so make sure you tune in so you don’t miss out.
As always, I will now break down all the main card fights, give my predictions and of course, put my own “Armchair Expert” title on the line. And don’t forget this week I will be supporting the great cause that is; “Marathon Man to Ironman” by putting my own money where my mouth is and trying to win some cash for this wonderful cause. Click on this link https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/marathon-man-toironman#/?_k=5ulm6g to find out more and please donate what you can.
CUB SWANSON vs. ARTEM LOBOV
As a main event, this match up really doesn’t make much sense. Cub Swanson is looking for his fourth win in a row and he is currently sitting at number four in the rankings. Artem Lobov on the other hand, suffered two losses before winning his last two but still sits outside the top fifteen. “Killer Cub” has always been one of the best in the featherweight division; he is a heavy hitter with a variety of weaponry in his arsenal. Lobov has an unflattering record of 13-12, but more often than not those fights were taken on short notice. “The Russian Hammer” is often labelled for having knockout power, yet he only has four KO victories to his name. Lobov’s fighting style can be quite one dimensional, feinting shots to set up the big haymaker but in his last outing, against Teruto Ishiara, he demonstrated a more complete skill set. If he is to gain victory here, Lobov will need to progress further; fighting someone of Swanson’s calibre is a different kettle of fish. Swanson is better well-rounded, with a five-inch reach advantage and he has more tools in his locker to win this fight. Barring any mishaps Swanson should take control of this fight in the later rounds and claim a decision victory.
Swanson by decision.
AL IAQUINTA vs. DIEGO SANCHEZ
This will be the first outing for Al Iaquinta in over a year, due to a contract dispute that ruled him out of fighting in his native New York at UFC 205. “Raging’s” last fight was an important victory over Jorge Masvidal to extend his win streak to three. Iaquinta is very well versed in most aspects of MMA and once he continues stringing wins together, he can keep pushing himself toward the bigger, more lucrative fights the lightweight division has to offer. Diego Sanchez, despite being on the wrong side of 30, has continued to display the heart and desire that has won him countless fans over the years. “The Nightmare” is a cardio machine who relentlessly comes forward; in spite of getting on in years Sanchez’ overall game shows no signs of slowing down. The problem here is Iaquinta has never been stopped in his career and although Sanchez works tirelessly, he doesn’t often connect as much as he throws. Iaquinta is the smarter striker and should be able to counter punch and pick off Sanchez for the three rounds to gain the victory.
Iaquinta by decision.
OVINCE SAINT PREUX vs. MARCOS ROGERIO de LIMA
With the recent retirement of Anthony Johnson and a considerable lack of challengers in the light heavyweight division a noteworthy performance here from OSP could easily send him shooting up the rankings list. Saint Preux is one of the finest athletes in the sport; for a man of his stature his attacks are extremely quick and unpredictable. OSP has only won once in his last five and has lost his last three straight but he is an ever present danger once inside the Octagon. Marcos Rogerio de Lima signed with the UFC in 2012 and has gone 3-2 with the organisation so far. The Brazilian is a heavy hitter who is always looking for a way to end his fights early; only one of his 15 victories has gone to a decision. This will be De Lima’s toughest fight to date and he will need to fight smart if he is to stand a chance of claiming the victory. I expect both these men to come out looking to finish this one quickly; the early exchanges will be the tell-tale to what way this contest unfolds. But I think OSP is that little bit crisper of a striker and I think he could potentially wear de Lima down and get the knockout.
OSP by knockout.
JOHN DODSON vs. EDDIE WINELAND
This fight will mark John Dodson’s third fight since returning to the bantamweight bracket. After impressing with a 37 second demolition of Manvel Gamburyan, Dodson then followed that up with a tough split decision loss to John Lineker. Dodson is an elite fighter with great wrestling and genuine knockout power. “The Magician” has a record of 18-8, has never been finished in his career and knows the importance of returning to winning ways here. After a year away from the sport, Eddie Wineland returned with an exciting knockout win over Frankie Saenz. He followed that up six months later with another KO victory this time over Takeya Mizugaki, to bring his record to 14 career knockout victories. Wineland packs some serious KO power and will be aiming for another here but John Dodson is an elusive man to hold down. I expect the speed, technique and superior wrestling of “The Magician” to carry him over the line.
Dodson by decision.
JOE LAUZON vs. STEVIE RAY
This really is one of the standout fights on the card. Joe Lauzon has been around the game a long time, competing 39 times. Lauzon is a submission specialist and is in total control once the fight hits the mat; 18 of his 27 victories have come by submission. Stevie “Braveheart” Ray has been steadily progressing since signing with the UFC in 2015. After recording three straight victories, he then lost by a questionable decision in Brazil, before bouncing back with an impressive victory over Ross Pearson last time out. Ray is a long rangy fighter and fires strikes quickly from distance. The outcome of this fight will be decided by wherever this fight takes place. If Lauzon gets Ray down, he could control the entirety of the fight but if Ray can stuff the takedowns and keep this on the feet, he has every chance of inflicting damage upon Lauzon. This is big step up in competition for Stevie Ray but his all round game continues to improve and once he can avoid being taken down, I think this could be a huge night and a huge victory for him.
Ray by decision.
JAKE ELLENBERGER vs. MIKE PERRY
Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger is a veteran of the sport, he has a total of 43 pro fights; 31-12. Ellenberger is vastly experienced but he is in dire need of a victory, having fought eight times since 2013, he has only won twice. His opponent on Saturday is the up and coming Mike Perry. “Platinum” began his UFC career in scintillating fashion, recording back to back knockout victories three months apart. He couldn’t make it three from three last time and Perry will be determined to bounce back immediately. This is potentially a cross roads fight for both these fighters; Ellenberger is entering the twilight of his career and needs a victory to continue fighting within the UFC. Perry needs to bounce back and a solid win over a veteran of MMA would help continue building his brand. Ellenberger has become hittable in his later years and Perry packs a serious punch; all nine of his wins have come by knockout. I see this being knockout number ten for Mike Perry.
Perry by knockout.
Best of the Rest.
Thales Leites vs. Sam Alvey
Leites to win.
Dustin Ortiz vs. Brandon Moreno
Moreno to win.
Scott Holtzman vs. Michael McBride
Holtzman to win.
Jessica Penne vs. Danielle Taylor
Penne to win.
Alexis Davis vs. Cindy Dandois
Davis to win.
Bryan Barberena vs. Joe Proctor
Barberena to win.
Hector Sandoval vs. Matt Schnell
Schnell to win.
Bet of the Day.
The adventurous bet: all 13 predictions in an accumulator is 220/1.
The inbetweener bet: Barberena, Penne, Perry, Dodson and OSP is 6/1.
The conservative bet: Cub Swanson to win in Round 4,5 or decision is 13/5.
Don’t forget to keep updated on all things “Ultimate Fight Chat” by liking and following all the links on the homepage.
And remember “Ultimate Fight Chat- A Guide to Becoming an Armchair Expert” is FREE to download from here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/645687
Make sure you Give “Marathon Man to Ironman” a like on Facebook and don’t forget to donate what you can.