UFC Fight Night 108 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Nashville
Cub Swanson was supposed to run through Artem Lobov at UFC Fight Night 108 in Nashville on Saturday. That didn't quite happen.
The Russian came to scrap and gave Swanson 25 minutes of opposition.
Lobov took several hard shots but kept upright. Swanson could not put him away, and as such, he failed to have a highlight-reel finish to set himself apart from the other contenders in the featherweight division.
Did the decision victory take away from Swanson's chances at a title fight? What does Lobov's performance mean for him going forward?
Elsewhere on the card, Al Iaquinta returned from a two-year absence to put Diego Sanchez to sleep, finishing the fight in just 98 seconds. The vocal lightweight has reasserted himself in the division.
Those are just two of the results, but that's all they are. Here are the real winners and losers coming out of Nashville. You can find the full results at the end.
Losers: Veteran Women
Women's mixed martial arts is still in the early days. We continually see rapid improvement through the ranks, especially with the young fighters. On Saturday, three veterans of the sport took to the cage.
They did anything but impress.
Jessica Penne, former Invicta FC atomweight champion, failed to beat the 5-foot Danielle Taylor. Penne had moments of success, but that was it. She has not improved much since catching a beatdown at the hands of Joanna Jedrzejczyk (0-2 since that loss).
Bantamweight vets Cindy Dandois and Alexis Davis went head-to-head in an atrocious fight.
Dandois' striking is putrid. While she does not train full time, being an eight-year veteran should see at least basic levels of striking added to her game. Davis squeaked by on the scorecards, but her performance was nothing to write home about, either.
These were not performances to generate buzz, nor were they performances to have confidence in the current state of women's MMA. Thankfully, the young guns coming up are shining under the UFC banner to make up for what fans had to sit through Saturday.
Winner: Brandon Moreno
Brandon Moreno entered The Ultimate Fighter 24 as the No. 16 seed. Dead last. He lost the opening-round bout via submission.
What has he done with his shot?
He's 3-0 in the UFC. Moreno debuted while his season was still on the air against Louis Smolka. He submitted Smolka, a rising contender, in just 2:23 of the first round.
He went on to win his TUF 24 finale bout by split decision against Ryan Benoit and stopped No. 9-ranked contender Dustin Ortiz in Nashville.
When you look at the current landscape of the flyweight division, it isn't hard to envision that Moreno is now one of the top contenders for the championship. He provides a fresh matchup for the reigning king, Demetrious Johnson, while offering an exciting style.
He may not get that shot just yet, but his performance Saturday put the division on notice. He'll get a nice bump up the rankings come Monday, and that makes him a big winner.
Loser: Joe Lauzon
The MMA gods can be cruel, and they claim some of our favorite fighters. It appears that is what has happened with Joe Lauzon.
Lauzon is a fan favorite, and for good reason: He's talented, aggressive and always looking for a finish. His last couple of outings, however, have shown a regression. After a stellar first round against Stevie Ray, Lauzon faded. Right away in the second he appeared to be sapped of all his energy.
Ray won the final two rounds to take the fight, and Lauzon was a borderline zombie when the final horn sounded.
Lauzon, as an upper-level lightweight, appears to be done. A young guy like Ray can keep it together for a full 15, but Lauzon wilted too quickly to be a major factor against anyone of note.
This looks like the end to an extraordinary run as a top-flight fighter.
Winner: Al Iaquinta
Welcome back, Al.
Iaquinta had no problem with the shopworn Diego Sanchez. The victory put Iaquinta right back into the thick of things at 155 pounds.
More important than the result, though, were his post-fight remarks.
He wants to get paid. The lack of pay is what led him to stay away from the sport for two years, but the UFC won that battle by making him honor his contract. Now after this win, will the UFC pay him what he deserves? If nothing else, Iaquinta's stance and open remarks about fighter pay should inspire others to know their worth.
Iaquinta has an important role both in and out of the cage. He only highlighted that in Nashville.
Loser: Diego Sanchez
The legend of Diego Sanchez has seen many wars and huge firefights inside the cage, and he had gone without being knocked out for nearly all of it. Now, he has been knocked out twice in the last year.
It happens in combat sports. The human body can only take so much punishment. Prior to Sanchez, Chuck Liddell was the poster boy for a similar story: granite chin, big battles and then it all goes at a certain point.
Sanchez is still a winner overall, but at UFC Nashville, he came out a loser because the writing is no longer on the wall. The writing is big, bold and written on his face. It's just the truth: Sanchez is not long for this sport. The physicality of MMA has taken its toll and taken Sanchez's ability to absorb a multitude of punches.
Sanchez will go down in the sport's history as one of the all-time favorites. There is solace that can be taken in that.
Winner: Artem Lobov
No matter your feelings about the booking of the main event, Artem Lobov exits as a winner.
First and foremost, he got to headline a card he had no business headlining. That's a win. This is a business, and he put himself on the poster.
Secondly, he didn't get iced in the opening seconds.
Lobov went out there and did his business with Swanson. He didn't get outclassed from the opening seconds. He showed no fear and exchanged with one of the top contenders in the division. No matter what the outcome of the fight had been, Lobov was establishing himself as a winner after two rounds of action.
In total, Lobov took Swanson the full 25 minutes. He ate plenty of shots, but he returned fire as well. Lobov outperformed expectations and now has a bit of steam behind him even in a loss.
Loser: Cub Swanson
There's no other way to look at it: Cub Swanson was a loser.
This was a dangerous fight for him. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain. He did win the fight, but he lost enough to make him a loser coming out of the bout.
Swanson asked for a title shot after the fight ended, but that shouldn't happen. Taking an unranked fighter who is 2-2 in the UFC to the scorecards shouldn't earn anyone a title shot. That's the biggest reason he is a loser. Had Swanson finished Lobov early, he would have had a case for the shot.
Swanson keeps on the winning track, but he lost a chance at the gold.
Loser: The UFC
The UFC was a loser entering the event for two reasons: employing Mike Perry and booking the main event.
Starting with Perry, he's a fighter who has a laundry list of issues: homophobic comments, racist comments, wearing blackface, etc., and yet the UFC still employees him. Why? Because he's the kind of fighter the company likes: Someone with big power who likes to brawl.
Keeping him employed is a stain on the sport. And promoting him is even worse. It's not just one unfortunate incident followed by an apology. It's a pattern that shows the true character of a person, as Justin Golightly of MiddleEasy.com highlighted. It's not a pattern the UFC should associate itself with.
Then came the embarrassing matchmaking that was Cub Swanson vs. Artem Lobov.
Lobov essentially got the main event call because he's Conor McGregor's friend. However, he's not ranked and is 2-2 in the UFC. He had no top victories while Swanson entered as the No. 5-ranked contender. Swanson, with three consecutive victories, deserved a true contender as an opponent.
This was shameful matchmaking.
The UFC will do better. UFC 211 is one of the finest fight cards you will see all year.
UFC Fight Night 108 Full Card Results
Cub Swanson def. Artem Lobov by unanimous decision
Al Iaquinta def. Diego Sanchez by KO, 1:38, Rd. 1
Ovince Saint Preux def. Marcos Rogerio de Lima by submission (Von Flue choke), 2:11, Rd. 2
John Dodson def. Eddie Wineland by unanimous decision
Stevie Ray def. Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision
Mike Perry def. Jake Ellenberger by KO, 1:05, Rd. 2
Thales Leites def. Sam Alvey by unanimous decision
Brandon Moreno def. Dustin Ortiz by technical submission (rear-naked choke), 4:06, Rd. 2
Scott Holtzman def. Michael McBride by unanimous decision
Danielle Taylor def. Jessica Penne by unanimous decision
Alexis Davis def. Cindy Dandois by unanimous decision
Bryan Barberena def. Joe Proctor by TKO, 3:30, Rd. 1
Hector Sandoval def. Matt Schnell by KO, 4:24, Rd. 1