Cub Swanson vs Giga Chikadze - Preview and Prediction - 5/1/21
Cub Swanson (27-11-0) vs Giga Chikadze (12-2-0)
Cub “Killer” Swanson has been fighting in the UFC for the past 10 years. If we include his WEC tenure which was under the Zuffa umbrella, then he’s been fighting in the top leagues since 2007! What is even more impressive is he’s never been knocked out (Jose Aldo did destroy him with a flying knee but he was fully conscious and screaming), and he’s been involved in a ton of wars. The 37 year old Californian enters into the co-main event slot on a two fight winning streak (decisioning Kron Gracie and then TKO’ing Jason Pineda in December).
Giga Chikadze is undefeated in his first 5 UFC fights. Before embarking on his MMA career, Chikadze was a successful kickboxer. He’s been using this specialty as his bread and butter in MMA, scoring 7 KO/TKO’s out of his 12 victories. This will largely be his toughest test to date.
How They Match Up
This should be a fun one. When Swanson gets hit hard he bites down and moves forward. Chikadze may not throw a ton of volume but what he does throw is just that - hard shots. As mentioned in the card preview, Chikadze actually has a technique named after him. A liver kick he made famous largely on the kickboxing circuit which quickly became known as the Giga Kick. Unclear if it will be effective here really since Swanson keeps his lead hand a bit lower. A better strategy would be to fire low kicks at Cub, since Pineda nearly won by TKO doing just that.
There’s a part of me who wants to take Swanson just for his durability and volume alone. It certainly seems like a probable strategy to sway the judges and make right by the MMA gods (Giga won his first two UFC fights by razor-close split decisions and those have a way of balancing out). But the analyst in me says that Chikadze kickboxing experience and technical edge will be enough to prevail. He’s going to have 4 inches of height and reach in which to work as well. Not to mention Swanson has struggled against taller fights in the past (losing to Burgos, Moicano, Holloway, etc) and Chikadze is a 6 foot featherweight.