UFC Fight Night Swanson vs Stephens Preview and Picks: MMA Spotlight

UFC MMA Spotlight

The UFC will finally be making their debut in San Antonio, Texas as two featherweights battle it out for a chance to take on the featherweight champion. Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens will be the first to headline a card in the home of Spurs country, while Kevin Gastelum and Nico Musoke entertain the co main event. This card will be one of two cards the Ultimate Fighting Championship being shown on June 28, as they will be hosting their second dual event in history. Nate Marquardt and James Te Huna square off in the earlier card in Auckland, New Zealand, exclusively shown on Fight Pass. Dana White and company are in the business in making history, and needless to say history has been thriving in recent weeks.

#4 Cub Swanson (20-5) vs. #11 Jeremy Stephens (23-9) – Featherweight Bout As the first main event to arrive in San Antonio, Texas, the UFC hit the head on the nail with this one. Both Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens possess power in their hands that are non comparable with anyone in the division, outside featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. Each of the main event fighters are riding win streaks coming into the bout; Swanson winning his last five fights, with Stephens winning his last three after making his debut in the lighter division. It is really hard to argue about much of a difference between the two, except for the fact that Swanson may have the slight edge when it comes to wrestling, and more experience fighting in the featherweight division. Stephens had quite the rough outing in the lightweight division, losing three in a row before deciding to move down in weight. Since then, Stephens has picked up his winning ways adding an impressive head kick knockout over Rony Jason in Brazil. Swanson and Stephens have both been in the cage with some of the best the UFC has ever seen, and a clear edge either way is difficult to determine. The winner here is San Antonio, as this fight is sure to cap the night off right for the first ever card in the city. Underdogs and upsets just make things a tad bit more exciting. Jeremy Stephens by Technical Knockout.

#11 Kevin Gastelum (9-0) vs. Nico Musoke (12-2) – Welterweight Bout Kevin Gastelum is a very intriguing prospect in the welterweight division, and could be a name worth mentioning in the top ten if he were to finish Nico Musoke at UFC Fight Night. The 11th ranked Gastelum showed quite the arsenal when he defeated Rick Story back in March, but did show signs of fading in the later rounds. Nico Musoke is a gritty fighter out of Sweden, whom could pose quite the issue if this fight turns into a brawl and Gastelum makes a mistake. Nico Musoke must avoid Gastelum’s heavy hands, and out work him to win this fight and survive a decision. Unfortunately, that may just be wishful thinking for the Sweden fighter. Kevin Gastelum by Technical Knockout.

Cezar Ferreira (8-3) vs. Andrew Craig (9-2) – Middleweight Bout Cezar Ferreira had been running quite the impressive streak in the UFC before C.B. Dollaway ended it in March. The south paw pupil of Vitor Belfort is a very precise striker with some excellent take down defense. The Texas native, Andrew Craig, has a very underrated MMA game and can threaten Ferreira at any aspect of this fight. Not to mention, fighting in one’s home state and just two hours west of  his hometown, Craig will have the needed motivation to perform on Saturday night. Expect a close fight with Craig edging out Ferreira at the end. Andrew Craig by Unanimous Decision.

#3 Ricardo Lamas (13-3) vs. Hacran Dias (21-2-1) – Featherweight Bout The road to redemption starts now for Ricardo Lamas, coming off an exasperating defeat to featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. This is quite the step up for Hacran Dias, who is fighting for the promotion for only his third time. Dias does have a slight advantage though, he trains with the man who had defeated Lamas back in February. Whether or not that will matter much inside the octagon is to be determined, nonetheless; Lamas will look to make a statement by beating Aldo’s teammate handily come fight night. Both camps will clash again, but there is a feeling in the air that the results might be quite different this time around. Ricardo Lamas by Unanimous Decision.

Clint Hester (10-3) vs. Antonio Braga Neto (9-1) – Middleweight Bout Styles once again clash as the heavy-handed brawler, Clint Hester, will need to keep this fight standing in order to defeat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion, Antonio Braga Neto. Neto is the class of BJJ, the renowned grappler has won gold medals in both the Pan American Championship and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. If there has been anything Hester has been susceptible to it has been the submission game, being submitted in two out of his three losses. Hester has shown flashes of brilliance and could be someone to keep an eye on in the future, Neto will get him down though; and who knows what kind of crazy shenanigans he will pull out when given the opportunity. Antonio Braga Neto by Submission.

Joe Ellenberger (14-1) vs. James Moontasri (7-1) – Lightweight Bout Joe Ellenberger can finally make his debut in the organization after dealing with multiple opponent switches leading up to the fight. Quite the match up though, as both of them have a habit of finishing their fights. Moontarsi will also be making his UFC debut, though he did not have to wait as long as Ellenberger. This may be a fight that not many know about, but could potentially lead to a possible “Fight of the Night.” Lightweights always bring the excitement, and two well unknown fighters could make a name for themselves as the first fight of the main card. With knowing little about either, expecting an epic battle may be unwarranted; MMA fans should know better by now though, some of those fights lead to some of the best ever seen. Joe Ellenberger by Unanimous Decision.

In other notable fighters on the card; “TUF 16” winner, Colton Smith, will be in action as he will face undefeated Brazilian, Carlos Diego Ferreira. Johnny Bedford will also make his return to the cage after his recent No Contest decision with Rani Yahya.

Following this weekend’s festivities will be International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada; as middleweight champion Chris Weidman will defend his title against Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida. “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey will also be in action when she defends her women’s bantamweight title against Alexis Davis. The Guardian Liberty Voice will be providing live coverage on both events through social media, follow the crew through their UFC adventures for the next two weeks.

Commentary by Justin Huffman
Follow Justin’s coverage in the MMA Spotlight section
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA

Sources:
Bloody Elbow
Bleacher Report
FOX Sports

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