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Cub Swanson answers Artem Lobov's challenge, cruises to unanimous decision victory

Cub Swanson (L) catches Artem Lobov with a left hook during his victory Saturday in their featherweight bout in Nashville, Tenn. (Getty Images)
Cub Swanson (L) catches Artem Lobov with a left hook during his victory Saturday in their featherweight bout in Nashville, Tenn. (Getty Images)

Cub Swanson has had more important victories, as well as more spectacular ones.

But the fourth-ranked featherweight from Palm Springs, Calif., came through in a no-win situation Saturday against unranked Artem Lobov on UFC FIght Night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

Lobov taunted Swanson and talked his way into the fight, then continued the verbal onslaught during the bout’s build-up. Lobov entered the fight with a 14-12-1 record and no wins of significance in the UFC.

That created a burden for Swanson, who had little to gain and much to lose by taking the fight. Lobov performed well, but he was no match for Swanson, whose accurate strikes led him to a wide unanimous decision.

Swanson’s accuracy was amazingly precise. He connected on 65 percent of his total strikes (193 of 301) and was 62 percent (168 of 272) in significant strikes. After the first, Swanson connected on 60 percent or better of his total strikes in each of the four remaining rounds. He caught Lobov with 42 of the 58 strikes he threw in the second.

Lobov, who suffered a cut on his left eyelid that sent blood into his eye most of the fight, was never seriously hurt, but he didn’t land nearly enough to compete with Swanson.

Judges saw it 49-46 twice and 50-45. Yahoo Sports scored it 50-45 for Swanson.

“I knew he was trying to get under my skin,” Swanson said in the cage after his 15th UFC/WEC victory, second only to Jose Aldo’s 16.

Lobov said he hoped to get into a slugfest, and most of the bout was spent standing with the two kicking and punching in the center of the cage. Lobov, though, wasn’t experienced enough to deal with Swanson, who was quicker and a more accurate puncher.

Swanson landed a number of nice combinations, few better than a left hook, left high kick that came late in the fight as he was looking for a finish.

Lobov was disappointed despite going the distance with one of the sport’s elite featherweights.

“I lost,” he said. “I thought I could take him but it wasn’t to be.”

Mike Perry lets out a roar after knocking out Jake Ellenberger Saturday with a standing elbow. (Getty Images)
Mike Perry lets out a roar after knocking out Jake Ellenberger Saturday with a standing elbow. (Getty Images)

On the undercard, Al Iaquinta made a dramatic return, needing just 1:38 to knock out Diego Sanchez. He ripped Sanchez with a pair of right hands, one that dropped him and another that finished him, giving him an impressive win in his first bout since a split decision win over Jorge Masvidal on April 4, 2015.

In a welterweight bout, Mike Perry caught Jake Ellenberger with a standing elbow at 1:05 of the second round, knocking Ellenberger out instantly. Ellenberger did a dead man’s fall backward, and his head slammed hard off the mat when he landed.

He did not move for several minutes, but eventually left the cage under his own power.

“I wanted to show everyone that I really do this every single day of my life,” Perry said. “I had been setting up the left hook and the right elbow for this entire camp. We trained for something. I got to come here focused and calm and do what I trained for.”