The next event on the mixed martial arts scene is UFC Fight Night 108, which will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Saturday and will be televised on Fox Sports 1. There are a couple of co-main events, including Cub Swanson versus Artem Lobov and Al Iaquinta versus Diego Sanchez. No belts are on the line but it should be an entertaining card with lots of competitive matchups.
Swanson (24-7) and Lobov (13-12-1, 1 NC) meet in a battle of the featherweights and it should come as no surprise that Swanson is a huge favorite at -600. Swanson is ranked fourth in the UFC at 145 pounds and he has won three in a row, including a fantastic fight with Doo Ho Choi in December. His last two losses have come against interim champion Max Holloway and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, and he has also lost to two-time and current featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
It's fairly clear that Swanson has problems with the big names but he has handled the rest of the division well. The good news for him is that his competition here doesn't appear to be an elite name like the rest of the fighters.
The oddsmakers seem to agree as Lobov is priced at +400. He lost The Ultimate Fighter 22 lightweight tournament before moving back down to featherweight. While he is a tough customer, Lobov is going to have to fight the perfect fight to beat Swanson, who is much better than Lobov on the mat and striking. Anything can happen in the world of mixed martial arts, but it would be a huge upset if Swanson's hand wasn't raised in victory at the end of the bout.
In the co-main event, Iaquinta (12-3-1) will take on Sanchez (27-9). Iaquinta is ranked 14th in the UFC in the lightweight division, but some places like Sherdog have him as a Top 10 lightweight in the entire world. He is a -380 favorite over Sanchez, who is famous for putting on great fights. The veteran frequently throws caution to the wind in order to put on a show. However, Sanchez was a little more conservative in his unanimous decision victory over Marcin Held, which turned some heads.
Sanchez' best chance for an upset at +290 is on the ground as all three of Iaquinta's losses have come by submission. Iaquinta has submitted just one opponent in his career and he is going to try to keep this fight standing up. This is a rare fight that will be dictated by the underdog. Sanchez is notoriously tough as only two of his losses were by knockout. Does he want to try and drag Iaquinta to the mat where he can use his jiu-jitsu? Or will Sanchez look to put on a show and engage in a firefight with Iaquinta?
This should be a stepping stone-type of matchup for Iaquinta as he's younger and on the rise, while Sanchez is in the twilight of his career. But Sanchez is a crafty veteran who is versatile enough to earn a win. Iaquinta should win but he will have to be careful in this spot.