UFC Fight Night 44 Fight Breakdown: Cub Swanson (-255) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+215)

Cub Swanson The main event of UFC Fight Night 44 is a five-round featherweight firefight between Cub Swanson and Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Swanson as a -255 favorite (bet $255 to win $100) while Stephens is a +215 underdog (bet $100 to win $215). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Swanson at -190 and Stephens at +150, and so far the public is all over the favorite Swanson. I agree with the movement in Swanson’s favor as I see him winning this fight. Here’s why. Swanson (20-5) is one of the top contenders in the UFC featherweight division. The 30 year old striker is currently riding a five-fight win streak with victories over Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira, Ross Pearson and George Roop and he won four of those fights via brutal knockout. Training at Team Jackson – Winkeljohn in the desert, Swanson has rapidly improved his game and right now is one of the most well-rounded 145ers on the planet. He has excellent striking, underrated grappling, and his cardio is tremendous as well. He was hoping to get a title shot after the win over Siver, but the UFC gave it to Chad Mendes instead. Now, Swanson will fight Stephens, and if he can get a win in impressive fashion there’s no doubt in my mind the UFC will give him the next crack at the belt. And with so much on the line, I’m expecting Swanson to win this fight in impressive fashion — and so is the betting public, who have bet this line up. Stephens (23-9) has been in the UFC since 2007 and for the longest time was an exciting, yet flawed lightweight, but since dropping to 145lbs last year he’s been absolutely lights out, going 3-0 with wins over Rony Jason, Darren Elkins and Estevan Payan. Just 28 years of age, Stephens is a wicked striker with special knockout power in both his hands and in his feet. If he connects with anyone in the division’s chin, he can knock them out with one shot. At 145lbs, his power is just as good if not even greater than what it was at 155lbs, and his wrestling has also looked great as well. But he’s still got flaws, and at 155lbs we saw that his striking defence and submission defence aren’t the greatest, which is definitely a worry going up against a guy like Swanson. Stephens’ best chance to win the fight will be by knockout, but if he doesn’t get that KO blow he’ll be in trouble, and that’s why he enters the fight as the underdog. I expect a standup war between two of the best strikers in the UFC featherweight division, but I just feel like Swanson’s technique is a bit more polished and I think he should be able to land a knockout blow at sometime during the five rounds and come away with an impressive win that should garner him a title shot. At -255 I think the moneyline on Swanson is a bit too high so I would pass, but I do like a prop in this fight and it’s on the fight not going the five-round distance, which is only -165. I think that’s a very cheap price considering the amount of power both these guys have in their hands and feet, so that will be my play on this fight and I’m pretty confident in it and definitely think there’s more value on that prop than the regular Swanson moneyline as it’s near 100 cents lower and if Stephens wins the prop offers good insurance.

Written by Adam Martin.

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