The Facebook prelims of UFC 161 kicked off Saturday night with a Bantamweight clash between Yves Jabouin (19-8) and Dustin Pague (11-8). After 15 minutes in the cage, Jabuoin got the nod on two of the ringside judges' scorecards to win a split decision. Jabuoin jumped up to 4-2 in the UFC while Pague fell to 1-4.
Pague came up short, but it certainly wasn't due to lack of effort. Throughout all three rounds he threatened Jabouin with submission attempts. Unfortunately for the Virginia native, he was never able to finish the fight. Jabouin handily defended Pague's submission threats and even landed some solid ground and pound in spurts. In the end, the judges saw it for him, though many viewers disagreed with the call.
What was the high point of this fight?
About midway through the first round following a series of submissions attempts, Pague hit a beautiful foot sweep and transitioned into a leg lock attempt. Jabouin eventually escaped, but it was a great sequence from Pague.
Where do they go from here?
Despite getting the W, this wasn't a fight that's going to really move Jabouin up the rankings. He barely got past a fighter who was clearly an inch away from getting cut and he did it with a controversial split decision. But sometimes the win is most important. He'll get another chance to prove himself on the prelims and at least this separates him from the brutal KO loss to Brad Pickett in his last fight.
Pague put forth a valiant effort and many people felt he was robbed by the decision. However, it's really hard to justify retaining a 1-4 fighter under any circumstances. It's possible that the UFC chooses to give him one last chance, but I doubt it.
Watch it now, never, or later?
Overall it was a fun fight with a lot of close subs and good grappling. And if you like arguing about bad decisions, you'll want to see this one.