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UFC on Fuel 7: Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2013

UFC on Fuel 7: Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier Head-to-Toe Breakdown

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    What more can you ask for in a free fight?

    High octane striking, world-class grappling and a matchup between two of the best featherweights in the world.

    When the red-hot Cub Swanson welcomes top prospect Dustin Poirier to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC on Fuel TV 7 in London, England, expect an explosiveness exchange.

    Here's how each potential title contender stacks up against one another in an always entertaining head-to-toe breakdown.

Striking Versatility

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    Besides the always formidable Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, Cub Swanson is the most explosive striker in the UFC featherweight division.

    Evident by three straight finishes by knockout or TKO, Swanson possesses elite skills on his feet.  He can wing unorthodox kicks, implement massive damage in the clinch or utilize a technical in-and-out game.

    For Dustin Poirier, limiting Swanson's ability to land vicious strikes early and often is only going to help his cause in this fight.

    If "The Diamond" can't get in close and grab a hold of Swanson, it's going to be a long night.

    DISTINCT ADVANTAGE: SWANSON

Knockout Power

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    Adding on to an already versatile striking game, Cub Swanson has the innate ability to knock dudes out.

    That's unfortunate for Dustin Poirier because the 24-year-old doesn't have that same level of viciousness.

    It's going to be interesting to see how soon Swanson goes for a finish if he catches Poirier because "The Diamond" has showcased a worthy chin in the past, especially in his fight opposite the hard hitting Chan-Sung Jung.

    ADVANTAGE: SWANSON

Ground Game

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    Neither guy possesses a well-polished wrestling game, but once they get in top position both Cub Swanson and Dustin Poirier are equally effective.

    However, there is a distinct difference between the two.

    On one hand you have Swanson, a guy who utilizes his fists to do damage by implementing the popular ground-and pound-technique.

    Then you have Poirier, a guy who loves to grapple with opponents and gain better positions for potential submission attempts.

    So while they each possesses significant strengths on the ground, they're completely separate, but respectively equal.

    PUSH

Submission Skills

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    The fact of the matter is that Dustin Poirier's ability to sink in submissions on unsuspecting opponents is second to none.

    Through six UFC fights, Poirier has secured three victories by submission, including finishes over proficient strikers Max Holloway and Jonathan Brookins.

    While Swanson is a little more experienced and polished than those two guys, it's still interesting to know that Poirier's jiu-jitsu comes into play when he's outmatched on his feet.

    So it shouldn't be a secret that that's what he'll be looking to do when Swanson attempts to swarm him with kicks and punches.

    DISTINCT ADVANTAGE: POIRIER

Intangibles

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    When a fighter possesses intangibles it can mean a few things.  Can he finish in fashion when the time calls for it?  Can he overcome adversity and turn his weakness into a strength?  Or does he simply have the "it" factor?

    It all really depends on a fighter's momentum, training camp, natural tendencies and his opponent.

    In this instance, between an explosive striker like Swanson and a grappling guru like Poirier, the edge in the intangibles department has to go to Swanson.

    Poirier does in fact possess the ability to come from behind and make fighters pay when they make a mistake, but he just doesn't have the knockout potential that Swanson does.

    That's really what it comes down to.

    SLIGHT ADVANTAGE: SWANSON

Verdict

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    At this point in both of their careers, Swanson simply has more to lose than Poirier.

    Poirier is only 24 years old, hasn't seen the caliber of fighters that Swanson has and will have a bright future in the UFC no matter what.

    For Swanson, this is ultimately his last chance to get another shot at Jose Aldo, assuming the dominating Brazilian can get past former lightweight top contender Anthony Pettis later this year.

    Not to mention, Swanson has won three fights in a row while capturing Knockout of the Night honors twice.

    So while Poirier's grappling skills and gritty style of fighting certainly has the potential to knock off Swanson, it's highly unlikely that he hands the 29-year-old vet his first defeat in 15 months.

    VERDICT: SWANSON VIA SECOND-ROUND TKO

    For more UFC/UFC on Fuel TV news and coverage,

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