UFC 186 Fight Breakdown: Thomas Almeida vs. Yves Jabouin

Thomas-de_Almeida The opening main card bout at UFC 186 is a three-round bantamweight bout between Thomas Almeida and Yves Jabouin. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Almeida is a -450 favorite (bet $450 to win $100) while Jabouin is a +360 underdog (bet $100 to win $360). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Almeida at -505 and Jabouin at +335, and there hasn’t been much action on this fight as the lines have tightened. I’m surprised the line on Almeida hasn’t been steamed up as I think this is a huge mismatch in his favor. Here’s why. Almeida (18-0) is one of the top prospects in the UFC bantamweight division. The 23-year-old Brazilian is 1-0 in the UFC with a decision win over Tim Gorman, which was the first time in his entire career he went to the cards. Prior to the UFC Almeida had racked up 17-straight wins on the regional circuit with 13 of them coming by way of knockout and four by submission. Almeida is a straight-up killer on the feet. He has extremely sharp, fast, and accurate hands and kicks and he throws with huge power for someone at 135lbs. He has also shown solid wrestling defence, meaning he is able to keep the majority of his fights on the feet. He showed some poor striking defence in his fight with Gorman, but considering that was his UFC debut maybe the Octagon jitters had something to do with that. Either way, he won Fight of the Night for that bout and the UFC clearly likes him, giving him the opening main card PPV slot in this fight against Jabouin. He has not fought a high level of competition, and Jabouin is certainly the best fighter he’s ever fought, but considering the difference in age, chin, and skill on the feet, this is a tailor-made matchup for Almeida to win in devastating fashion and earn himself a name amongst the UFC fans who don’t know him. Jabouin (20-9) is 5-3 in the UFC with wins over Mike Easton, Walel Watson, Dustin Pague, Jeff Hougland and Ian Loveland, with losses to Eddie Wineland, Pablo Garza and Brad Pickett. The 35-year-old Haitian-Canadian is a crafty veteran who has been around the sport for a long time and who has fought a who’s who of the lighter weight classes. He is known for his striking and has earned 11 career victories by T/KO, but in recent years he’s worked hard on improving his ground game and is coming off of a decision win over Easton where he showed off his under-appreciated wrestling game. The problem with Jabouin is he’s getting up there in age now and his chin, which has never been the greatest, is not able to withstand hard blows. He has been knocked out brutally twice in his UFC career and four times overall, and as he gets older the knockout losses will probably keep coming. His best chance to beat Almeida will be to take him down and grind him, but considering Almeida has very solid takedown defence, that seems easier said than done and when this fight stays standing Jabouin will be in danger of being clipped and knocked out, making this an ultra dangerous fight for him to take at this point of his career. Jabouin is a good, underrated fighter, but this is a terrible matchup for him. Jabouin is a striker by trade but if he chooses to stand and bang with a young, accurate sniper with the knockout power of Almeida he will get knocked out, and that’s exactly what I see happening her. I just don’t think Jabouin’s wrestling is going to be good enough in this fight to hold Almeida down, and anytime this fight is on the feet Jabouin is at risk of being KOed, which is what I think happens. Almeida is one of my strongest picks this weekend and at the current price he’s someone to put in your parlays. But for even greater value, consider the prop on Almeida wins inside the distance and Almeida wins by knockout, as the most likely scenario here is Jabouin getting a stoppage win.

Written by Adam Martin.

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