Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweights Cub Swanson and Max Holloway battled last night (April, 18, 2015) at UFC on FOX 15 inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Swanson tore up some highly ranked featherweights while chasing a title shot, but Frankie Edgar derailed all that in a five round beat down. After that disappointing loss, Swanson was quite motivated to rebound.
Holloway has really come into his own in the last couple years, leading to a five fight win streak. In his scrap with Swanson, Holloway had another chance to take a major step up in competition and prove he belonged among the elite.
He undoubtedly does.
Holloway used plenty of lateral movement to start the bout, flicking out body and high kicks. While the two had a brief feeling out process, Holloway really started to take control the exchanges pretty early on. Using his reach and a diverse set of strikes, Holloway was tagging his opponent nearly at will.
Holloway did a tremendous job in this round of making Swanson miss. After landing his own combination, Holloway would bounce back out of range. Holloway also did a nice job keeping his guard high and deflection while on the inside, meaning that Swanson landed very few clean punches in the first round.
Highly impressive start for the Hawaiian.
The second round was more of the same, as Holloway picked his opponent apart. Swanson tried to step up the volume late, but it resulted in him getting stunned with a jump knee to the liver and a tight overhand right. Holloway was simply too agile and too active, as Swanson absorbed dozens of strikes.
"Killer Cub" needed something major heading into the third round.
However, it was Holloway who continued his spectacular performance. About a minute into the round, Holloway dropped Swanson with a body shot and nearly finished an arm triangle. Swanson managed to get back to his feet, but Holloway kept the head on.
Before long, Holloway connected with a series of punches that stunned Swanson once again. This time, Holloway wrapped up a guillotine and forced Swanson to his back. Holloway inched into mount despite his opponent's attempts to resist, forcing the submission hold.
This was an utterly dominant performance by Holloway. He was incredibly active on offense, defensively slick, and brutal with his jiu-jitsu attack. He's come a long way since losing to Dustin Poirier on a short notice debut, and this was the finest performance that he's put forth thus far.
One thing did remain consistent since the beginning, and that's his body work. Holloway's frequent trips to his opponent's mid-section pay off quickly, as he's so incredibly active the work builds up quickly. Then, his opponent is having difficulty breathing, and he'll accelerate the process with a choke.
Off the strength of this victory, Holloway has inserted himself among the elite. Unless he takes a step back in competition, the only options for him are Chad Mendes or the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber.
Swanson never turned it on in this fight. Whether this was because Holloway was just that much better, Swanson simply having an off night, or the residual effects of a lengthy and violent career is hard to tell, but Holloway was the much better man last night.
For his next match up, Swanson needs a bit of a rebound fight. He's still an entertaining fighter, but it's now pretty clear that his chances of ever contending for the title are quite slim.
At UFC on FOX 15, Max Holloway capped off an amazing performance with a submission win over Cub Swanson. Can the Hawaiian fighter make his way to a UFC title shot?
For complete UFC on FOX 15 "Machida vs Rockhold" results and play-by-play click HERE!