UFC 256 Betting Pick: Daniel Pineda vs Cub Swanson

UFC 256 is not far away and as much as I would love to say we have a massive amount of betting value on the card like we did last week, I haven’t got there with this week’s fight card.

There are spots, though, that I like and the fight between Daniel Pineda and Cub Swanson is one of those. Cub Swanson is one of my all time favorite mixed martial arts fighters and the depth of his skillset is only matched by a handful of guys.

Sure, we have athletes in the UFC with a deep bag of tricks but they never really apply them in the Octagon. That’s the hard part. We can all go to class and learn a technique but pulling it off live in a fight shows skill, heart, brains, and c*jones also.

Cub has probably pulled off more techniques inside the Octagon than any mixed martial artist in history!

The issue here is the mileage:

37 years along with 37 professional fights for the baby bear is a lot and a fact that can’t be ignored. Swanson is good everywhere but great nowhere and his biggest weakness is his lack of size.

I have mentioned this several times before breaking down his fights but I’ll say it again. He is small. I met Swanson for the first time as we were warming up our fighters at Combate Americas. I couldn’t believe how small he was.

He wasn’t in the middle of a camp either, just a little guy who doesn’t cut very much weight. He could have easily made 135 and competed at Bantamweight but some guys just don’t believe in cutting much weight and good for them.

Fighting is already unhealthy enough for longevity and now you’re going to let these guys nearly kill themselves every couple of months just to be able to fight someone their own size.

Daniel Pineda is one of those guys. He is huge for the weight class and could never make Bantamweight. Pineda is not a sprung chicken himself. He is 35 with more professional fights, actually than Swanson.

BetOnline has the odds for this one. Let’s take a look and make our prediction on the winner or a round total for the fight between Daniel Pineda and Cub Swanson.

Daniel Pineda (-155) vs Cub Swanson (+135)

This fight opened up as a pick’em at (-110) betting odds for each guy and the market has corrected itself or has it?

Did they just give us a lot of value on Cub Swanson? I mean he is the more experienced fighter at the highest level, BY FAR but he is also the elder man who will be at a size disadvantage.

So, is Daniel worth the juice at this point? Let’s see if Cub has fought anyone with his skillset recently. Wow, not really! He hasn’t had an opponent with powerhouse wrestling and a BJJ black belt in a long time.

Sure, Swanson was lighting the world on fire 6 years ago beating fighters like Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira, and Jeremy Stephens but what have you done for me lately, bro?

Quick shout out to a friend, Mackens Semerzier. He fought Cub Swanson to a split decision in what is one of my favorite fights of all time. Watch this one! These two put on such a display of skill, heart, and conditioning. Incredible stuff!

Cub has been subbed by fighters like Renato Moicano and Brian Ortega as well as former Featherweight king, Max Blessed Holloway. Ricardo Lamas and Frankie Edgar even got him to tap.

So, there is a path to victory and a stoppage for The Pit. I think Cub Swanson will prove pretty tough to be taken down, though. It’s all about the first round for Pineda, though. I don’t know if this guy has ever won a decision.

A lot of his early bouts only have “win” listed as a method victory but that was a decade ago. Pineda has struggled at the UFC level and he wasn’t looking great against Herbert Burns until the Brazilian faded badly.

Daniel is very dangerous in the first round but Cub is such a crafty veteran with a ton of heart that I think he makes it out of the first round and possibly wins the second and third.

I will take the over 2.5 rounds for nearly even money at (-110), though. This goes against the narrative but these are the spots that can be taken advantage of at times.

Pineda will likely take the first round and if Cub survives, I think it will be a striking battle for the next two and Cub will win on the scorecards. This is also a very good live betting opportunity for you guys.

If Swanson survives the early onslaught and loses the first round, you can probably get him at (+200) or better to win the fight. Unless Pineda looks incredibly and unusually fresh, I would jump on Cub to come back and win the second and third rounds.

Watch for that with your live bets and take the over 2.5 rounds for (-110). I think this hits probably 6 or 6.7 times out of 10 so I feel we have a decent edge here on the sportsbooks to make a smart play.

My Pick
Over 2.5 Rounds

In Conclusion

These are two very highly skilled mixed martial arts veterans. I expect a really good scrap out of these guys. I would have bet on Pineda at even money but as a 1.5 to 1 favorite, I just can’t.

He has too many losses on his record for me to do that. The guy is kill or be killed every time he steps in there and those aren’t always the best fighters to bet on, especially as favorites.

This is why I wanted to go with the round total. I like the value on the over here because I think Cub’s submission defense will hold up and the baby bear doesn’t pack a lot of power in his hands so rounds two and three should be a jab fest from the SoCal native, Swanson.

As for the live betting option, I love it here. Pineda fades. He really does. I think he may come into this fight with Cub Swanson a little bit more measured but that thinking isn’t backed up with evidence.

Either way, Cub isn’t a big finisher. If he was, I would stay away from that over but unless The Pit completely gasses himself out trying to get the finish early on, I can see this one going to the judges scorecards and possibly having a split decision or even a draw.

I could see Pineda having such an incredible first round, he may get a 10-8 or two and if Cub comes on and wins rounds two and three then we would have it.

Get your bets in now on the round total betting just a unit here and be ready on the trigger between rounds one or two and watch how heavy Pineda is breathing compared to his opponent.

Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.