Saturday night in New Jersey at UFC on Fox 15, title hopeful Cub Swanson will look to get things back on track when he meets Max Holloway in the UFC’s featherweight division. This is a pivotal match-up between a fighter who was expected to secure himself a title shot sometime last year, and a fighter who is looking to break into the upper ranks of the division. Holloway (12-3) is ranked ninth in the UFC official rankings at featherweight, Swanson (21-6) at 5th. This is by no means an easy fight to judge by the rankings, however. Holloway has looked like a new man since a 2013 loss to Conor McGregor, going on a five fight win streak, while Swanson is coming off a deflating loss to Frankie Edgar.

With a win, “Blessed” shoots up from ninth and would have the biggest victory of his young career. On the flip side, a win for Swanson, and he’s back on track working his way to a title shot.

Last time out, Swanson struggled with the dominance of Frankie Edgar’s wrestling game. With Holloway, he should have no such obstacle to overcome. In that sense, this is a favorable match-up for Cub, but Holloway, as noted, is on a tear, and is looking to establish himself as a real threat and break into the top five or close to it.

With that in mind lets take a look at some keys to victory for Swanson at UFC on Fox 15.

Pressure, Pressure, Pressure

Swanson is best when he’s pushing the pace of the fight and pressing forward. Looking at Holloway you see a young, promising fighter (he’s just twenty-three) whose only UFC losses have come via a pair of decisions in 2013 (McGregor and Dennis Bermudez in a split) and a submission loss in his first UFC fight to Dustin Poirier. Any fight where Holloway has been allowed to fight his game, he has come out on top of it. Swanson needs to be the one in control in this bout.

Use That Creativity

Swanson is capable of doing some fantastically creative things in the octagon with his striking.  This was memorably on display during his Fight of the Night win over Jeremy Stephens last year. Holloway is a talented striker in his own right, and Swanson needs to use his full arsenal against him. He needs to win the exchanges, overwhelm Holloway, and needs to use that creativity to do so.

Prepare To Go The Distance – At A High Pace

This shouldn’t be an issue in a three round fight, as Swanson has gone five rounds before, but Holloway has been stopped just once in his career, and Swanson should be cognizant of the need to pace himself and be ready to go a full three rounds — at a high level. Letting off the gas pedal may not be such a great idea in this one, as Holloway is hungry to show that he belongs in the division’s elite.

Regardless of outcome, expect a great stand-up battle in this one. And when all is said and done, there’s a good chance Swanson will have his hand raised in victory.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.