UFC 174 Play: Mike Easton (-210) vs Yves Jabouin (+175)

Mike EastonUFC 174 Date: June 14, 2014 Arena: Rogers Arena City: Vancouver, B.C., Canada Bantamweight bout: Mike Easton (-210) vs Yves Jabouin (+175) Fight Breakdown: Getting the action going for UFC 174 will be a bantamweight contest between Washington’s Mike “The Hulk” Easton and Montreal’s Yves “Tiger” Jabouin. Easton is the favorite in this scrap at -210 ($210 to win $100), with Jabouin being an underdog at +175 ($100 to win $175) at Several Bookmakerss. Mike “The Hulk” Easton (13-7 MMA MMA, 3-3 UFC) last saw action at UFC Fight Night 35 just over five months ago, dropping a unanimous-decision to now-UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw, in what was a very one sided fight, which does not seem like as big of a deal now, considering how dominant Dillashaw looked against Renan Barao in his title win. Easton had been riding an eight-fight winning streak, including three inside the Octagon, until it was snapped by Raphael Assuncao in Seattle over a year and a half ago. Easton did not seem to show up for that fight, as he was unable to pull the trigger against the Brazilian. Assuncao handed him a unanimous decision loss, and that was followed by a split decision loss to Brad Pickett just a few months later and then the aforementioned one-sided beating on the feet he took against Dillashaw. The 30-year old black-belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Lloyd Irvin and he has exceptional skills on the mat, though he likes to use his grappling more defensively to keep his fights on the feet. Easton loves to strike and he hits hard when he connects, putting together some excellent combinations. He throws solid punches and works his kicks really well; mostly leg kicks, as he rarely goes high with them. The 20-fight veteran has good footwork and is very fast. However, he tends to slow down after the first round, and his footwork adjusts to his pace. He has great takedown defense, and when taken down, he does an excellent job of working his way back to his feet. He is not easy to keep down on the mat, and is active off his back. “The Hulk” is set to make his seventh appearance inside the Octagon, and he most assuredly has his back against the wall going into this one. If he does not walk away the victor, he will be receiving his walking papers. Easton, in my opinion, is not very “down-to-earth”, if you will. In recent interviews, he has been saying that he was very competitive in his decision losses, and was always in the fight. Which is completely ridiculous to anyone who actually watched his fights, because he would not engage and failed to pull the trigger, allowing his opponents to have an easy-sparring session against him to very easy and comfortable unanimous decision victories, and sad losses for “The Hulk”. That mind-set could work against him, if he thinks it’s okay to fight that way and delivers a similar performance in this match-up. If that were to happen, Jabouin would enjoy himself as he outpoints Easton for 15 minutes. However, I think that not-so-smart way of thinking will be beneficial to him in this case. I feel he thinks he has been delivering great performances against the top of the division, and the fact that Dillashaw is now champion and Assuncao is the number one contender gives him confidence in himself, thinking he went to “war” with the best in the division and lost “close” decisions. I think that is going to mentally benefit him in delivering a better performance, possibly with the intention of finishing the fight. The first minute of this fight will pretty much tell the tale. I am counting on seeing a hungry and motivated Easton to come out and earn his spot back on the win column. Yves “Tiger” Jabouin (19-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) is coming off a second round TKO loss to Eddie Wineland at UFC on FOX 10 nearly five months ago. He is now 1-2 in his last three fights, arguably 0-3 if you include the controversial split decision he won over Dustin Pague. The French-Canadian displayed solid submission defense in that bout, but was in my opinion awarded a hometown decision. He is a very talented technical striker, but is more of a point fighter than a finisher, not having finished an opponent in six years. The 35-year old has a traditional Muay Thai stance, uses excellent footwork and works nice leg kicks. He has many kicks in his arsenal, including a spinning back-kick which he likes to use. Jaboin favors the spinning attack, as he also uses the spinning back-fist quite frequently, which seems to be one of his favorite strikes, though he does not often find success landing it. His preferred kick is the lead left high kick, which he likes to throw frequently. While it does not a strong enough kick to finish or even hurt his opponents, it looks good, scores points and is somewhat effective. He certainly has a solid kicking game, and definitely delivers them in high volume. When “Tiger” closes the distance on his opponents, he likes to employ the clinch, where he favors knees, but also does damage with punches and elbows. One thing to note is that he is not very good at closing the distance on opponents who have a reach advantage over him and are able to implement it well, which will not be the case in this bout against Easton, as “The Hulk” will only have a one-inch reach advantage over the veteran. Despite not having finished an opponent of over half a decade, Jabouin still packs a powerful right hand. At 35 years of age, he still has his speed and moves well on his feet. His striking defense is still very good, though his chin may be starting to diminish. The French-Canadian has developed his wrestling game over the years and has good takedown defense. His offensive grappling is on point, as well. He has a nice single leg takedown he likes to use whenever he desires to take the action to the canvas, though that doesn’t ring true against fights with great takedown defense. It benefits Jabouin to have the threat of the takedown, because he is good at using faints, and does so often. While on the mat, he puts his elbows to good use in a brutal ground and pound attack. His cardio is not very good; he tends to get more and more tired as the fight goes on, and does not have much to offer in the third frame. That said, the judges love him, especially in Canada. The two times he has gone the distance inside the Octagon in front of a Canadian crowd, he has won two split decisions, one against Walel Watson and the other against the aforementioned Dustin Pague. Many spectators believed Watson and Pague deserved those nods; I am one of them. Gabe’s Thoughts: As long as Easton fights this fight the way he fought against opponents not named TJ Dillashaw and Raphael Assuncao, I think he should cruise to a unanimous decision victory, if not stop the hometown underdog. Easton will probably deserve a unanimous decision here, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see one judge give it to the Jabouin. Gabe’s Call: “The Hulk” by TKO (strikes, 3:35, round 3) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Easton (-210) parlayed with MacDonald/Woodley Over 2.5 rounds (-215) for +116 2.8u to win 3.25u

Written by Gabe Killian

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