Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight knockout artists Cub Swanson and Hakeem Dawodu will collide this weekend (Sat., Aug. 12, 2023) at UFC Vegas 78 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Swanson has been brawling with the best for years and years. The 39-year-old has certainly slowed down in recent years, going just 3-3 since 2019. Still, his power and tricky setups remain, even if Swanson has lost a bit of speed and durability. If nothing else, at least he’s not trying to cut to Bantamweight anymore! Dawodu is a fighter with incredibly clean Muay Thai. Unfortunately, his activity rate can be low, almost as if he’s saving the slick techniques just to spite us! He’s also a difficult man to take down, and at one point, he seemed to be on his way to contention before losing two of his last three.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Dustin Poirier (UFC on Fuel TV 7), Kron Gracie (UFC Fight Night 161), Jeremy Stephens (UFC Fight Night 44), Hacran Dias (UFC on FOX 19), Charles Oliveira (UFC 152), Doo Ho Choi (UFC 206), Darren Elkins (UFC Vegas 45)
Key Losses: Giga Chikadze (UFC Vegas 25), Frankie Edgar (UFC Fight Night 128, UFC Fight Night 57), Max Holloway (UFC on FOX 15), Brian Ortega (UFC Fight Night 123), Renato Moicano (UFC 227)
Keys to Victory: “Killer Cub” is a fan favorite for a reason. His ability to put together creative combinations of powerful strikes from all ranges is excellent, and Swanson has never been afraid to throw himself into the fire in search of the finish.
Though Swanson has some tricky calf kicks in his arsenal — he was ahead of the curve on that end, kicking calves before it was cool — this is clearly a fight where Swanson desires the pocket. He’s the better combination puncher with more power in his hands, whereas Dawodu excels at kicking distance.
Pressure is therefore going to be important. Swanson has to cut off the ring, which can be difficult given his habits of chasing angles. Instead, he’s going to have to spend more time directly in front of Dawodu, a dangerous but necessary prospect.
Volume will be major here too. Erosa seemed to overwhelm Dawodu’s mind with aggression and numbers, making him appear much less polished. Perhaps that’s Swanson’s path as well?
Key Wins: Zubaira Tukhugov (UFC 253), Michael Trizano (UFC Vegas 47), Julio Arce (UFC 244), Kyle Bochniak (UFC 231)
Key Losses: Movsar Evloev (UFC 263), Julian Erosa (UFC 279), Danny Henry (UFC Fight Night 127)
Keys to Victory: Dawodu’s kickboxing is very clean. Any time he does open up, it’s short combinations with good form punctuated by a punishing kick. When he get aggressive, the results are usually violent and in his favor! “Mean” has nearly 60 Muay Thai fights at the amateur and pro level.
Dawodu can be frustrating. He doesn’t push his advantages, and a fighter so physically and technically talented should never lose to Julian Erosa — that loss alongside a weight miss leave a lot of questions about his current abilities heading into this bout.
Fortunately, the game plan here is astoundingly simple. Swanson’s last two losses saw him broken apart by powerful kicks, and Dawodu is a tremendous kicker! Swanson’s body can’t handle hard liver kicks and his stance leaves his lead leg vulnerable; Dawodu has the tools to punish both openings.
A committed kicking game and the occasional counter punches should keep Dawodu firmly in control.
This fight should be a lot of fun.
Swanson is 39 years of age fighting in a division below 170 lbs. Clearly, he’s closer to the end of his career than the start. At this point, any Swanson fight could be his last one, so really, the goal should be to appreciate “Killer Cub” while he’s still performing at a reasonably high level. He’s not at his peak, but nor is he cannon fodder back up at his proper weight class.
As for Dawodu, this fight is extremely important if he wants to get his career back on track. It wasn’t that long ago that he was ranked and undefeated in the UFC! Now, he’s without any momentum in a talent-rich division. The only solution is an extended win streak, but pummeling Swanson is an aggressive and dominant performance would serve as an argument that he’s turned a corner.
At UFC Vegas 78, Cub Swanson and Hakeem Dawodu will go to war in the co-main event. Which man will earn the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 78 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 78: “dos Anjos vs. Luque” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.