If you’re looking for options to make a few dollars, this card has plenty of them. The UFC heads to Nashville this weekend with a somewhat controversial choice for a main event as #4 ranked Cub Swanson is challenged by unranked Artem Lobov in what can be considered a grudge match.
The rest of the card shapes up rather nicely as Al Iaquinta and Diego Sanchez will engage in what we can expect to be a high-octane showdown. Also featured on the card are talents such as Ovince Saint Preux, John Dodson, Joe Lauzon and Jake Ellenberger.
The main event is probably a fight you should stay away from. Swanson, who is coming off of an enthralling ‘Fight of the Year’ against Doo Ho Choi in December , has won three fights in a row after dropping back to back fights against Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar. His opponent is 2-2 against far lesser opposition. Lobov – who infamously trains with Conor McGregor – has beaten Teruto Ishihara and Chris Avila in his last two fights.
The line opened up with Swanson as a considerable favorite at -525. That line has swelled to as high as -770 (at Heritage). Meanwhile, Lobov started at +410 but is now hovering around +500. Swanson is the more diverse fighter who is competent on the ground and has excellent striking. Lobov often lumbers in his fight and searches for the home run shot. You can throw a dart and pick Lobov in the event you believe that Swanson has been in one too many wars. But it’s highly unlikely that Lobov will be able to catch Swanson. The last time Swanson was knocked out was against Jose Aldo nearly eight years ago. And Lobov doesn’t have the ground game to submit him. Where you may find value is in this fight going over 3.5 rounds. That currently sits at +145. Lobov has proven to be durable and could very well drag this into the late rounds. Ultimately, it will be up to whether or not Swanson will look to drown Lobov on the ground, where the Russian appears to have some holes in his game.
The co-main event is also one you should stay away from. The always ready for war Diego Sanchez opened as a +285 underdog but has climbed as high as +325 (at Pinnacle). He’s wildly unpredictable from fight to fight. He looked like a reborn fighter against Marcin Held last November but had the ability of a shopworn fighter on his last legs when he was stopped in less than two minutes against Joe Lauzon in the fight prior. Iaquinta hasn’t fought since winning a controversial split decision against Jorge Masvidal two years ago. He deserves to be the favorite on his track record alone but there could be traces of cage rust against an overly aggressive Sanchez. Either way, steer clear of this one.Other possible lines to look at include the following:
* Over 1.5 rounds on Ovince Saint Preux vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima at +130. Everyone knows OSP can end a fight with one punch and de Lima hasn’t had a fight make it out of the first round since 2013. Everything suggests that this should end quickly but expect de Lima to be a bit weary of OSP’s power and with OSP lacking the technique necessary to aggressively advance, this could drag into the late second or third round.
* Mike Perry (-165) vs. Jake Ellenberger. Perry is a knockout artist who is facing a Jake Ellenberger that has been suspect to being finished. He’s 2-6 in his last eight fights with four of those losses coming inside of the distance. With Perry looking to bounce back, expect him to take advantage of Ellenberger’s defensive deficiencies.
* Under 2.5 round on John Dodson vs. Eddie Wineland at +120. Dodson is lightning fast with heavy hands and never looks to extend a fight. In Wineland’s last six fights he has gone 3-3 with only one fight making it to the judges. This is a recipe for an early finish.