This Saturday, Yves “Tiger” Jabouin is set to take the cage with Dustin “The Disciple” Pague at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, Canada. Both of these fighters are coming off losses and need to prove that they deserve to keep their respective spots in the UFC. The Disciple has a three-inch height advantage over Tiger, but Jabouin has seven more wins worth of experience over his opponent. Many of us remember the Disciple from The Ultimate Fighter 14, where he fought under the tutelage of Jason “Mayhem” Miller, and won “Fight of the Season” for his battle against Team Bisping’s top bantamweight, Louis Gaudinot.
While Pague sports a record of 11-8-0, his opponent has seven more wins and the same amount of losses, and with the experience gained in each fight that is a serious advantage. In Jabouin’s last nine fights, he has landed 289 out of 703 attempted strikes, and succeeded in securing nine out of 18 attempted takedowns. Pague has landed 72 out of 146 strikes in his last five fights, and two out of six takedowns. It is clear that Tiger earned his name for being extremely aggressive, and the Disciple could certainly learn something from that. Jabouin has managed to avoid 65% of his opponents’ strikes and 80% of their takedowns, while Pague has only managed to evade 43% of his enemies’ attacks while stopping 60% of their takedowns.
All of Pague’s wins have been finishes: eight submissions and three knockouts. He is also known for having four amateur championship belts in the 145 and 155 pound weight classes, as well as a pro belt in bantamweight. The Disciple fought a tough fight against UFC veteran Din Thomas in 2010, and lost in Round 2 due to doctor stoppage.
Jabouin is known for being more of a mix between kickboxing and wrestling, while his opponent concentrates more on submissions and jiu-jitsu. Eleven of Tiger’s 18 wins have come from KO, and one from submission. He was a Canadian amateur kickboxing champion, and UGC Canadian lightweight champion, showing this in his ability to mix it up while standing with strong strikes and powerful head-kicks. He has a commanding presence in the ring, as well as great ground movement and guard passes. His ability to quickly switch positions and pound on his opponent will definitely aid him in a battle against a submission artist such as Pague. Pague is not the toughest guy Tiger has faced, as he has gone toe to toe with Sam Stout, Jonathan Brookins, and won WEC Fight of the Night with a tough loss against Mark Hominick.
As much as I have been previously impressed with the Disciple’s performances, I’m going to have to lean towards Tiger in this bantamweight bout. Jabouin’s style reminds me of the Rashad Evans who wiped the floor with Chuck Liddell, and I expect that Tiger will be able to out-strike Pague with his dangerous head-kicks, and out-wrestle him as well. Jabouin is great at stuffing takedowns and has incredible ground movement, and although Pague has demonstrated his ability to end fights on the ground, he has never faced anyone with Tiger’s explosive strength and energy. His natural athleticism and ability to win in all aspects of MMA will probably help him end this fight in one of the earlier rounds.