The UFC on FX 4 event that’s set for Friday night will feature a featherweight matchup between former TUF winner Ross Pearson and Cub Swanson. It should be a good matchup between two tough fighters that are looking to make a niche in the featherweight division. Let’s see how this one breaks down.
Ross Pearson (13-5) comes into this fight off his successful featherweight debut at UFC 141 against Junior Assuncao, winning via unanimous decision. Pearson had long competed in the lightweight division but decided to move down in weight after losing two of his last three fights in the division. Pearson is gritty as they come while having five wins via submission and three wins via TKO/KO.
Cub Swanson (16-5) comes into this fight off a big TKO win over George Roop earlier this year. Swanson has seven wins via submission and five TKO/KO wins to his credit. He is (3-3) dating back to his WEC days and is (1-1) inside the UFC. Swanson is an aggressive fighter who has won “Fight of the Night” honors on three separate occasions.
This is a tough fight to call with Pearson being the more active fighter over the past year or so. Swanson will have a slight reach advantage and is the better wrestler on paper. However, Pearson has solid takedown defense as he has defended 79% of the takedowns against him according to Fightmetric. Swanson on the other had has subpar takedown defense on paper, but that number is skewed a bit by the eight takedowns he gave up to Chad Mendes.
Pearson needs to do what he does best in this fight, and that’s close the distance and apply constant pressure with his offense. He doesn’t go backwards often at all, and that constant pressure makes it difficult for his opponents to get their offense going. He may want to take Swanson to the ground when possible as he should be able to avoid submission there while scoring points while looking for submissions. It should be noted that Swanson has been submitted three times in his MMA career.
Swanson on the other hand needs to use his wrestling to set up his striking and vice versa. He is the more accurate striker of the two according to Fightmetric. If he can keep Pearson honest and land some strikes, it should setup the takedown attempt with Pearson continuously coming forward. Assuncao was able to take Pearson down on three occasions, so Swanson definitely needs to take a page from that gameplan and capitalize.
I can see Pearson winning a decision if he’s able to stop the takedowns, if not, I see Swanson taking it via split decision in a very tough fight.