Cub Swanson will meet Dustin Poirier in the co-main event of UFC on Fuel 7, and there’s a wealth to be gained for the man capable of claiming victory. A win for either man launches him much deeper into title contention, but Swanson has a measure of momentum behind him that Poirier currently lacks.
"The Diamond," who had amassed four consecutive wins inside the UFC’s Octagon, tasted defeat two fights ago when he ran into top contender Chan Sung Jung. He’s since picked up a submission stoppage of former The Ultimate Fighter standout Jonathan Brookins, but he lacks the career forward movement that a resurgent Cub Swanson now possesses.
A series of highly ranked contenders have emerged in the featherweight division (the aforementioned Jung, Ricardo Lamas and Chad Mendes included), but Swanson could position himself at the top of the heap should he batter Poirier in impressive fashion at UFC on Fuel 7 this weekend.
What does Swanson need to do to ensure a victory tomorrow night? Really, he only needs to be himself, but I’ll elaborate.
Poirier is best thrown off when colliding with a man unwilling to stand in front of him. Highly mobile opponents have presented challenges in the past, and Swanson is a very busy fighter with great footwork.
If Swanson can establish range early, and keep his feet moving, he’ll drastically decrease the chances of Poirier getting a hold of him. If Swanson can keep “The Diamond” befuddled by moving side-to-side, he stands a fantastic chance of winning this fight.
Swanson has power in his fists and he’s proven capable with his lower extremities.
The Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts rep needs to keep Poirier guessing by firing off kicks and knees when unexpected, and firing the jab at every opportunity that presents itself. He’s rangy, and he can keep Poirier confused if he keeps his fists in his face early and often.
To slow down is to potentially create an unwanted opening for Poirier.
Poirier has no problem wading into the trenches to land a few strikes and line up a takedown. But if he intends to bull-rush Swanson, he could find himself in serious danger.
Swanson strikes extremely well while moving backwards, and he’s turned his left-hook counter into a punch to be feared.
If Poirier rushes in with his right hand low, he may well end up on the receiving end of that gorgeous left-hook counter from Swanson.
I have little doubt that Poirier’s submission game is superior to Swanson’s. Swanson is no scrub on the mat, but “The Diamond” has a knack for pulling mystifying submissions out of thin air.
Swanson cannot allow this to happen.
If Poirier can secure a takedown, it’s in Swanson’s best interest to do a whole lot of shrimping, force as much distance between himself and his opponent, and make a mad scramble.
He’s got to keep this fight standing to ensure success. The more time on the mat with Poirier, the uglier this fight becomes for Swanson.
Back at UFC on FOX 1, Cub Swanson was having his way with Ricardo Lamas...handily. That is, until his arrogance caught up with him and he forgot to respect the submission skills of Lamas.
Swanson can ill-afford to underestimate Poirier, or get overconfident as the match ensues. Whether he’s one step ahead from the jump or not, one mistake can cost him this fight.
If Swanson recognizes the dangers that Poirier presents, and respects them at all times, he should be able to avoid getting caught while being careless.
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