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In an exciting ‘crossroads fight’ in the UFC’s stacked featherweight division, surging contender, Renato Moicano, takes on battle-hardened veteran, Cub Swanson. Who will come out on top?
Known for his aesthetically appealing striking style, Cub Swanson has been fighting professionally since 2004. Now, 34-years-of-age and with other ventures outside of the UFC, it’s questionable how long Swanson will hang around. In one of the best fights of all time, Cub Swanson weathered an early storm before delivering a beatdown to top Korean prospect, Doo Ho Choi. Despite winning, this could have been the fight where the mileage on his body finally caught up to him - because he’s looked flat in his past three bouts.
Against Artem Lobov, a fighter that Swanson would have blown out of the water in his prime, everyone was expecting an early finish for the big favorite. While Swanson won a decision, his performance was uninspiring.
In his last bout against Frankie Edgar, Swanson looked dreadful. Sure, Edgar is one of the elite fighters at the lighter weight classes, but that doesn’t excuse Swanson's horrible performance.
As dynamic as Swanson is on the feet, he’s been finished by submissions numerous times and is facing a legitimate Jiu-Jitsu black belt in Renato Moicano.
If you’re looking for a dark horse in the featherweight division, Renato Moicano might be your guy. Standing 5’11", Moicano is gigantic for the division. He will possess a 2-inch reach and 4-inch height advantage in this bout. While coming from a Jiu-Jitsu background, he is a proficient Muay Thai striker. He uses his tremendous wingspan to keep smaller opponents at bay while firing off excellent leg kicks.
Against Jeremy Stephens, a fighter that wants you to stand directly in front of him so he can knock your head off, Moicano won a decision by fighting elusively. Moicano landed strikes at range and mixed in some well-timed takedowns to steal rounds. I anticipate he’s going to take a similar approach against Cub Swanson.
Moicano is in his athletic prime at 29-years-of-age and is set to make a run at the title.
Skill for skill, this is a favorable matchup for Moicano. With age also on his side, it’s easy to see why Moicano is a strong favorite.
However, if Swanson can keep the fight standing and close the distance, this could be a real dogfight. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend playing Moicano straight at -400.
Given that he’s likely to fight conservatively and isn’t a big puncher, to begin with, I feel that Moicano winning on the scorecards is the most probable outcome.
Pick: Moicano by points -175
Check out my other UFC 227 predictions.