A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC Fight Night 108 on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:
Cub Swanson (24-7) vs. Artem Lobov (14-12-1, 1 No Contest)
Line: Swanson minus-600
Storyline: Lobov has no business being in this fight. Swanson is one of the division’s top contenders, but is running out of people to fight outside of the champion and interim champion, who are scheduled to meet. So when Lobov called out Swanson, he accepted the fight. The one thing that could affect Swanson is pressure. He has nothing to gain by beating an unranked opponent, and he knows it. A loss would be devastating. Lobov isn’t terrible and comes from a good camp training alongside Conor McGregor, but he isn’t powerful or dangerous with his submissions.
Hill’s pick: Swanson by second-round knockout
Fang’s pick: Swanson by decision
Al Iaquinta (12-3-1) vs. Diego Sanchez (29-9)
Line: Iaquinta minus-400
Storyline: Iaquinta was a top prospect before sitting out the past two years in a contract dispute. He returns with the difficult task of dealing with Sanchez. The veteran makes life miserable on opponents with relentless pressure in his striking and takedowns, as he rarely shows signs of fatigue. The good news for Iaquinta is that he’s almost ideally equipped to deal with Sanchez. Iaquinta is a counter-striker who isn’t afraid of a brawl but also is fundamentally sound. He also has the takedown defense to deal with Sanchez’s wrestling. Sanchez is in the midst of a resurgence, but this is a showcase for Iaquinta, and it’s clear UFC matchmakers thought the stylistic matchup was favorable for him.
Hill’s pick: Iaquinta by decision
Fang’s pick: Iaquinta by decision
Ovince Saint Preux (19-10) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (15-5-1)
Class: Light heavyweight
Line: Saint Preux minus-165
Storyline: There isn’t much mystery to Rogerio de Lima’s game. He comes out swinging and tries to end the fight as soon as possible. All four of his UFC wins have been by first-round knockout. The strategy can be effective, though the aggression leaves him susceptible to counters and takedowns. His two UFC losses have been by submission, and Saint Preux is capable of adding to that list. He is a counter-striker with a ton of athleticism and strong takedowns. Saint Preux also is desperate for a win after three straight losses.
Hill’s pick: Saint Preux by decision
Fang’s pick: Rogerio de Lima by second-round submission
John Dodson (19-8) vs. Eddie Wineland (23-11-1)
Line: Dodson minus-415
Storyline: Dodson’s combination of speed and power at flyweight was unmatched in the division. His move up to 135 hasn’t drained it, but there are more fighters who can match his power. Wineland is one of them. The veteran can dish it out and take it. He’s durable and knocked out his two opponents in 2016 and will look for a third straight win. Dodson is difficult to prepare for because of the movement and speed at which he can go from defense to offense and back as he bounces around the cage.
Hill’s pick: Dodson by decision
Fang’s pick: Wineland by decision
Joe Lauzon (27-13) vs. Stevie Ray (20-6)
Line: Ray minus-200
Storyline: Ray has lived up to the hype after entering the UFC as one of the top prospects from the European mixed martial arts scene. He has won four of his first five fights and now looks for his biggest win yet over one of the most exciting fighters on the roster. Lauzon doesn’t always win, but usually puts on a show and loves being the underdog. He is seeking his first two-fight winning streak since 2014. Ray is tremendously talented and capable of dominating this fight. But the price is right to take a shot with Lauzon.
Hill’s pick: Lauzon by second-round submission
Fang’s pick: Lauzon by third-round submission
Jake Ellenberger (31-12) vs. Mike Perry (9-1)
Line: Perry minus-180
Storyline: Ellenberger has a wrestling background, but has become a striker over the course of his UFC career. That’s a dangerous plan against Perry, who has elite power. Perry is coming off his first loss in a fight during which Alan Jouban mixed his attack and controlled distance to prevent Perry from landing a fight-changing blow. Ellenberger should copy that game plan. He also has plenty of power and never has avoided a firefight, so this one could end quickly.
Hill’s pick: Perry by first-round knockout
Fang’s pick: Perry by second-round knockout