Preview: UFC 256 Prelims

Pineda vs. Swanson

By Tom Feely Dec 9, 2020

UFC 256 started as an unusually deep event, and while much of its undercard was wiped out over the last few days, what remains offers intrigue. Cub Swanson in the featured prelim takes on Daniel Pineda in an exciting bout between featherweight veterans, while Mackenzie Dern takes on Virna Jandiroba in an excellently matched strawweight affair. Elsewhere, Gavin Tucker and Billy Quarantillo should have a banger, and when you add in the strangeness of Chase Hooper, there is something interesting in nearly all of the remaining bouts this Saturday in Las Vegas.

Now to the preview for the UFC 256 “Figueiredo vs. Moreno” prelims:

Featherweights

NR | Daniel Pineda (27-13, 4-4 UFC) vs. NR | Cub Swanson (26-11, 11-7 UFC)

ODDS: Pineda (-150), Swanson (+130)

Swanson is slowing down, but his win over Kron Gracie in 2019 was a reminder that he can still hold his own, as that victory helped snap a four-fight losing streak. Swanson has done well to keep bouncing back over the course of his career. Remembering back over a decade, a shocking loss to Jens Pulver and an eight-second knockout suffered against Jose Aldo would have derailed other fighters, but Swanson instead dusted himself off and made a run towards title contention once the UFC absorbed World Extreme Cagefighting. Despite two long winning streaks in the UFC—one running six fights, the other covering four—Swanson never got quite over the hump to a championship fight. However, he has remained a beloved vet and one of the most reliably exciting fighters on the roster, even through his recent struggles. He will look to defend his turf against Pineda, who, despite being just two years younger than Swanson, feels like a much fresher face. Pineda had a brief run in the UFC from 2012 to 2014, then went the journeyman route and quietly won a whole lot more than he lost. That led to his bursting back on the national radar in the Professional Fighters League’s featherweight tournament in 2019, when he made a run to the final with finishes of Movlid Khaybulaev and Jeremy Kennedy before drug test issues pulled him from the million-dollar bout. Pineda remains a wildman at heart, but years of experience have made him surprisingly patient in picking his spots to unleash his aggression. Khaybulaev never got going out of the gates, but Kennedy’s wrestling-heavy approach suddenly turned south once “The Pit” locked him in a guillotine. With Pineda running through Herbert Burns in his UFC return in August, it makes for an interesting test for both fighters, given that they are at their best turning back younger and less experienced prospects. Aldo remains the only person to knock out Swanson, so the main concern for him in terms of a finish remains on the mat. While a club-and-sub result is a worry, Swanson has at least shown an ability to defend takedowns if he expects them heading into the bout, so he should hopefully be well-prepared here. Swanson can be wild, but his durability should see him through whatever punches Pineda can land, and based off of history, any pick for the latter relies on his ability to get the finish; somehow, none of Pineda’s wins have come via decision. That time may finally come, but if this fight goes 15 minutes, the pick is Swanson by decision.

Continue Reading » Dern vs. Jandiroba
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