Two featherweights riding a tremendous wave of momentum stepped into the Octagon last night (Sept. 22, 2012) as Cub Swanson took on Charles Oliveira in the opening bout of the UFC 152 main card in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Swanson was riding a two-fight winning streak with two straight knockouts while Oliveira had been unbeaten in the featherweight division with two straight submission finishes after dropping down from 155 pounds.
Someone's streak had to give.
Both men threatened with their specialty as Oliveira put Swanson on his back and Swanson was wining heavy blow, but it was Swanson who ended up coming out smelling like a rose, winning "Knockout of the Night" in the process.
So what helped put Swanson over the top in this hotly contested featherweight bout? And where do both men go from here?
Follow me after the jump for our Cub Swanson vs. Charles Oliveira UFC 152 post-fight review and analysis.
Early on, Swanson was throwing punches with serious bad intentions, coming up just short with heavy right hooks and trying to counter Oliveira's intentions to take him down with counter shots. He landed a beautiful left hook to the chin on a pair of occasions but Oliveira walked through it, changed levels, grabbed a leg and dumped him on the canvas.
Not a good start.
Oliveira looked to land some short blows from top position, but he couldn't pass Swanson's closed guard the second he allowed the Greg Jackson-trained fighter to create some space, Swanson exploded back to his feet.
Swanson continued to wing heavy hooks with bad intentions but they didn't seem to be breaking through Oliveira's defenses as "Do Bronx" attempted to get the fight back to the ground. This time, however, Swanson denied him.
Finally, at the midway point of the round, Swanson found an opening. He stepped forward and instead of going to the head, he threw a hard right hand to the body. When Oliveira kept his hands up defending his face, he again stepped forward and cracked him with a left hook to the body.
Oliveira took a step back, dropped his hands and attempted to adjust to the body blow but this created another opening as Swanson exploded forward with a huge right hand to the temple. After taking one step backwards, Oliveira crumpled in a heap and was out of the fight as the referee stepped in to put a stop to it.
For Charles Oliveira, he didn't actually do anything that poorly. He's not a great stand-up fighter yet but he was keeping his hands up and looking for openings to get the fight to the ground. His biggest mistake was letting Swanson off the hook after getting the fight into his world. He had him on the ground and all he could do with it was drop a few punches. He never even got an opportunity to pass guard or throw any submission attempts at his opponent. After that, he couldn't close the distance to take it down again and he paid the price.
There are plenty of potential opponents for Oliveira. It would be a fun grappling battle of he were to take on Hatsu Hioki next. Other potential opponents include Dustin Poirier or perhaps the upcoming loser of the Diego Nunes vs. Bart Balaszewski bout.
For Cub Swanson, he's now on a tremendous wave of momentum. He's not just on a three fight winning streak, he's on a three fight knockout streak against three extremely talented featherweights in George Roop, Ross Pearson and Charles Oliveira. Last night he looked like a legitimate contender. He avoided danger on the ground against one of the most dangerous submission fighters in the UFC and he found a hole in Oliveira's defenses, exploiting it and setting up a fantastic knockout.
While Swanson won't be getting a rematch against Jose Aldo with the win, he's definitely put his name in the suddenly crowded mix of top contenders. Potential opponents for Swanson include Ricardo Lamas, Erik Koch or Chan Sung Jung. Dennis Siver is also a possibility if he were to get past Eddie Yagin.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you impressed by Swanson's streak of stoppages? Has he actually evolved enough since the first fight against Aldo to hold his own?