The UFC on FX 4: "Maynard vs. Guida" event taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, tonight (June 22, 2012) kicked off its main card on cable television with a featherweight fracas pitting recent division debutant Ross Pearson against WEC import Cub Swanson.
Pearson, who kept his job despite a DUI recently, came in looking to build on his successful debut at 145-pounds in Dec. 2011 while Swanson simply hoped to pick up a win big enough to get him past his perennial gatekeeper status.
He took a big step towards exactly that by knocking Pearson out in the second round with an awesome combination of punches while the Brit was rushing in on him. A front kick led to a couple of right hands and an explosive left hook turned the lights out.
It's about time that potential was realized. But can he keep it going?
The fight started slow, both men cautious of the other's considerable power. Finally, Pearson drove through with a takedown that scored him some always valuable points early.
Swanson may have earned them back with a heavy shot that send "The Real Deal" flying backwards. He managed to recover but that was largely due to Swanson's patience.
They engaged some more after a reset and Swanson landed a big kick while Pearson was coming in. A huge upkick followed that just missed its mark while Ross scored with a missile coming down into guard.
Late in the round, Pearson worked hard to get a single leg takedown to turn the round in his favor. Swanson defended well and by the time the horn sounded, it was far too close for comfort on either side.
It quickly turned into a brawl early in the second, as Swanson was unloading wild punches and kicks from every direction. Pearson's chin was holding up, though, and he quickly went to his wrestling once again, hoping to slow the pace down. It worked, albeit briefly, and Swanson looked comfortable, all told.
Pearson came back hard, finally landing some big shots of his own and once again getting Swanson to the mat.
But Swanson used a heavy duty front kick to get Pearson to rush in and he followed it with two right hands and a left hook that put the Brit down and out.
Gatekeeper no more?