UFC featherweight contender Cub Swanson used his superior striking and kicks to score a unanimous decision against Jeremy Stephens in the main event at UFC Fight Night 44 in San Antonio, Texas.
Stephens was the bigger man, dwarfing Swanson, but size didn’t matter as Swanson had Stephens hurt several times during the fight, finding his range with a kick to the liver and followed by punches that had Stephens on the run trying to recover.
Swanson — who looks to be next in line for a title shot — had a familiar face in his corner to boxing fans. Joel Diaz, head trainer for former welterweight champ Timothy Bradley, was calling the shots in between rounds for Swanson, who has been working more on his boxing, which could be seen last night.
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In the co-main event, TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum improved to 10-0, scoring a decision victory over Nicholas Musoke. Musoke came out strong in the first round, out wrestling the wrestler and taking Gastelum’s back for much of the round.
However, the second and third rounds were all Gastelum, as he out boxed his taller opponent and had Musoke hurt in the third stanza. Even with the victory, Gastelum was not happy with himself, as he had missed weight coming in 2 pounds over the welterweight limit of 171, surrendering 20 percent of his purse to Musoke.
In the first fight of the night, newcomers Joe Ellenberger and James “Moonwalker” Moontasri fought a grueling fight, with both fighters bloodied by the end of the fight.
It looked as if “Moonwalker” got the better of Ellenberger, but the judges were split, and two of them scored the bout for Ellenberger, the twin of UFC welterweight Jake Ellenberger.
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The rest of the main card also went to decisions, with Clint Hester earning a split-decision victory over Antonio Braga Neto. Braga Neto was able to control Hester on the ground most of the fight, but did little damage, while Hester was able to hurt the Brazilian on the feet several times during the fight.
Ricardo Lamas put a skid to Hacran Dias’ three-fight win streak, and all three judges scored the bout for the featherweight contender. An odd decision, as Dias hurt Lamas and dropped him in the fight, and Lamas never returning the favor.
TUF Brazil winner Cezar Ferreira won a unanimous decision against Andrew Craig, but it wasn’t easy. Craig hurt the Brazilian with punches in the last forty seconds of the fight, wobbling Ferreira, but the native Texan was too tired and not able to finish him off.
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A weird night of judging, as I scored the first three fights for the losers — two of the three winners I predicted a win for — but saw the fight go the other way. But, as UFC President Dana White always says — “You can’t leave the fight in the hands of the judges.”
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