Hakeem Dawodu def. Yoshinori Horie via TKO at UFC 240

Featherweight contenders Cub Swanson and Hakeem Dawodu are looking to find their way back into the win column this weekend on UFC Fight Night. Showcasing their prowess, both fighters have exhibited top-tier skills within the division when they’re at their best.

Dawodu, riding the wave of a five-fight win streak upon his arrival in the UFC, before losing to the always-game Movsar Evloev and Swanson, a longstanding gatekeeper from his WEC days, bring a wealth of experience to the octagon. While Dawodu has transitioned beyond the prospect label at this stage in his career, a showdown with

Swanson serves as a litmus test, determining whether he possesses the mettle to contend with the elite echelons of the fiercely competitive 145-pound division.

Betting Odds

With a significant advantage in age and more reason to be in the octagon, Dawodu opens as a slight 2-1 favorite.

  • Hakeem Dawodu: -230 (BetUS)
  • Cub Swanson: +190 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Stylistically, this is probably one of the more even fights on the entire card. Both fighters are extremely proficient and lightning-quick strikers who throw long-winded, yet powerful combinations. Dawodu, who fights slightly more conserved, will be sure to use his three-inch reach advantage to keep Swanson at range, who will definitely be looking to get in the pocket and utilize some of his always-consistent dirty boxing.

Swanson’s penchant for absorbing punishment while delivering blows has become a defining aspect of his fighting style. His durability, combined with his ability to land heavy shots, often transforms his bouts into thrilling exchanges. However, this strategy also exposes him to significant risks, making his defensive approach a crucial factor in this matchup. On the other side, Dawodu’s mastery of effective kicks, especially at a distance, provides him with a formidable arsenal to control the rhythm of the fight. His calculated approach complements his lightning-quick striking, enabling him to manage the distance and capitalize on his three-inch reach advantage. It’s a delicate balance between Swanson’s willingness to engage in close-quarter combat and Dawodu’s preference for maintaining a controlled range – a dynamic that promises an enthralling clash of contrasting strategies.

It should also be noted that Dawodu’s exact style has been the fighting style that has shut Swanson down in his most recent bouts. His latest losses came at the hands of Giga Chikadze and Jonathan Martinez, two fighters who fight with an extremely similar style as Dawodu, both of which being devastating stoppages that will have long-term implications for Cub’s longevity.

If Swanson wants a win, he needs to utilize his experience as a veteran and use the same approach that shut Dawodu down in his last two bouts against Evloev and Erosa, that being solid top-pressure on the ground. In bouts where he’s taken to the ground early, such as his matches with Evloev and his debut loss against Danny Henry, Dawodu has visibly shown himself to slow down and put much less power into his kicks in order to catch his breath. If Swanson could grind him out on the ground for the first round and a half (that being if Dawodu doesn’t reign enough significant damage in the process) it’s very likely that he could go toe-to-toe with Dawodu on the feet and implement the same gameplan that’s kept him in the sport for so long: slick and quick dirty boxing in the pocket.

Prediction and Betting Guide

As much as I’d love to say Swanson has a dog in this fight for nostalgia’s sake, it wouldn’t be right to say it’s safe to part with your money on him. There are simply too many what ifs and it looks like Dawodu’s become a much more well-rounded fighter during his run in the UFC, so to say a 39-year-old Cub Swanson has a solid chance is more wishful thinking than a legitimate analysis.

Overall, I’d go with Dawodu via KO/TKO (+165) or decision (+200), unless you plan on using him as a parlay addition at -200 money line, which is a solid odds booster. It should be noted, however, that if he comes home with a win, this wouldn’t be the first time Swanson’s put away a younger, seemingly more game opponent who was “supposed” to win, and so this fight is still a fascinating co-main event nonetheless.

Pick: Dawodu by KO/TKO (+165) or Dawodu by Decision (+200)

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