Octagon veteran Cub Swanson made his 23rd walk on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 78.
Swanson entered his 12th year on the UFC roster and stepped into The APEX looking for his 29th career victory as he squared off with Canadian standout Hakeen Dawodu in the co-main event of the evening. Dawodu looked to gain some momentum after coming up short in two of his last three bouts.
Swanson is likely on the last leg of his run with the UFC, losing six of his last nine fights inside the Octagon. Nevertheless, Swanson walked into the matchup determined to make a statement and add another impressive knockout to his resume.
Dawodu opens things up with a kick. Swanson looking to establish his feints early as both fighters size up one another. Swanson moves in with a combination that down Dawodu’s attention. Swanson closes the distance and lands a solid right hand in close. Swanson goes low with a kick and Dawodu responds with a stiff jab. The front kick from Dawodu keeps Swanson at bay for the moment. Both men begin targeting the legs of their opponent with kicks. Stiff right hand from Swanson connects.
Swanson flashes a smile at the three-minute mark of the opening round as Dawodu looks to bring a little pressure. Back-to-back leg kicks land for Dawodu. With 60 seconds to go, both fighters start to settle in and exchange some strikes in the phone booth. Swanson tags Dawodu with a high kick as the final seconds of the first round tick away.
Dawodu gets the offense started in the second with a low kick followed by a combination upstairs. Dawodu’s striking continues to come alive as Swanson is wearing some damage. Dawodu moves in and puts Swanson’s back against the fence. Dawodu peppers his opponent with some nasty knees in the clinch which encourages Swanson to push off and separate.
Swanson looks to get aggressive, but it’s Dawodu who is landing big in the exchanges. The front kick from Dawodu misses. After a brief exchange, Dawodu once again clinches up and pushes Swanson to the cage wall. Dawodu goes to work, delivering knees and wearing on his opponent. With 10 seconds to go, Swanson is able to separate and unload a series of strikes in an attempt to steal the second round. Swanson ends the round getting the better of the exchange, but it is unlikely to swing the round in his favor.
Swanson comes out looking to pick up where he left off in the third, but Dawodu is able to avoid any damage being sent his way. Dawodu continues to pump the jab and effectively counter Swanson’s big looping shots. An exchange in close briefly sees both men drop to the ground, but Dawodu is able to get back to his feet and push Swanson to the fence. During the clinch, Dawodu inadvertently lands a low blow on Swanson that briefly results in a pause.
Seconds later, another exchange in the clinch results in a low blow to Swanson. Determined to keep things going, Swanson insists the fight continue. Dawodu immediately fires a head kick, but Swanson gets his hand up just in time. Swanson throws a step-in elbow. Dawodu responds with a 1-2 that backs up Swanson. A slick level change from Swanson scores an easy takedown on Dawodu.
Swanson moves into half-guard, looking for a potential arm triangle, but Dawodu scrambles and gets back to his feet. Swanson jumps on his opponent’s back, dragging him back to the mat. Swanson fishes for a rear-naked choke, but with mere seconds left on the clock, Dawodu needs only to survive the round, which he does.
Official Result: Cub Swanson def. Hakeem Dawodu via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Check Out Highlights From Cub Swanson vs. Hakeem Dawodu at UFC Vegas 78 Below:
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