UFC Vegas 62: Jonathan Martinez Spoils Cub Swanson’s Bantamweight Debut with Leg Kick TKO

Jonathan Martinez and Cub Swanson, UFC Vegas 62
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 15: (L-R) Jonathan Martinez kicks Cub Swanson in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 15, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

For the first time in his career, UFC and WEC featherweight legend Cub Swanson moved down to bantamweight, to fight young Muay Thai specialist Jonathan Martinez in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 62.

Despite concerns from fans, the 38-year old Swanson successfully made weight, even coming in a pound under the 136-lb limit. Both men are primarily exciting strikers and this fight was therefore earmarked as a potential Fight of the Night. Also of note was the fact that Cub Swanson recently was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame for his legendary fight with Dooho Choi.

Martinez slipped on an early kick attempt and Cub tried to lock up a guillotine as the action got underway on Saturday. However, Martinez was able to press Swanson into the clinch before breaking away.

Martinez landed a big body kick after a blitz from Cub. Cub defused that kicking threat by shooting and landing a takedown. However, Martinez was able to execute a slick reversal and get on top of Cub with a front headlock before getting back to striking. With his hands low, Swanson would dart in and out, trying to land through the high guard of Martinez. Meanwhile, Martinez looked to kick from range. His round kicks landed with a thud against the guard, legs, and body of Cub at times. Martinez was able to time a kneed at the very end of the round that dropped Cub badly. Swanson survived and got back to his feet but was dropped once more. Herb Dean seemed close to stepping in as Martinez rained down blows, but the bell saved Cub from losing then and there. After a close round, Martinez had pulled away and won it emphatically.

It was going to be interesting to see how Swanson recovered from the knockdowns, especially with the new weight cut. He seemed fine to start the second round but how he absorbed strikes would tell us a lot.

Early in round two a flurry of clinch elbows forced Swanson to sit down to his knees, and then to turtle up as Martinez tried to take the back. Martinez failed to lock up an unorthodox sitting arm triangle before settling in top half guard. Swanson looked to stand up by latching onto a guillotine but Martinez was able to avoid it and get full mount, then take the back briefly before Cub cleared the hooks and ended up kneeling against the cage. Martinez finally stepped back, choosing to get back to striking range. Swanson would not be deterred by the shots he had eaten. He immediately landed two good right hands on the feet, and then a left hook. But Martinez followed up with two brutal leg kicks that forced Swanson to a squat. His toughness was on display though, and he would not give up, but Martinez landed one more inside leg kick and Swanson could not stand up. As he rolled onto his stomach Martinez went to land ground and pound but Herb Dean smartly decided to stop the fight.

Swanson had put on a respectable showing against a man ten years his junior but Martinez’s kicking game was simply too much. This fight represented the biggest win in Martinez’s career and will surely earn him a bigger fight down the road.

Official Result: Jonathan Martinez def. Cub Swanson by TKO (leg kick to ground and pound), Round 2, 4:19