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UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi - Idiot's Guide Preview to Yves Jabouin vs. Thomas Almeida

David Castillo breaks down the three things you need to know about one of the most promising bantamweight prospects on the feet versus the most enduring undercard striking veteran at UFC 186.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of bantamweights who don't have a lot of name value look to install some legacy to their names this April 25, 2015 Venue Bell Centre in City Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Match Up

Bantamweight Yves Jabouin 20-9 vs. Thomas Almeida 18-0

The Odds

Bantamweight Yves Jabouin +360 vs. Thomas Almeida -450

3 Things You Should Know

1. Thomas Almeida's potential is real, but the hype train must slow its course.

Before taking Tim Gormon to a decision, Almeida had finished all of his opponents in his first 17 bouts. The last little stretch of opponents were quite solid too; Caio Machado, Vinicius Zani, and George Pacurariu aren't half bad. However, it remains to be seen just how he's gonna deal with better fighters who will be willing to deal with his pressure on the feet while forcing him to grapple his way out of the proverbial paper bag. Nonetheless, there is something exciting about a Chute Boxe Academy fighter doing the lord's work in 2015.

2. Yves Jabouin is the most exciting perennial undercarder working the fight circuit today.

I've always been a fan of Yves. In fact, I never understood why he didn't get more credit for such a firestarter. He had a brutal debut to start his Zuffa career against Raphael Assuncao, and an equally difficult sophomore bout with Mark Hominick. Since then he's never lost more than twice in a row, going 6-3 since 2010. He's a fun, dynamic striker who isn't the most powerful, but strings together combinations like clockwork and is often effective despite his complete and total lack of size for the division.

3. This is a very favorable matchup for Almeida, and Joe Silva knows it, but that doesn't mean it's guaranteed.

Almeida is a real technical marvel. Most guys who are good at striking have the mechanics of throwing a punch down pat. Or the mechanics are lacking, but the athleticism is there. Or the athleticism is there, but it's not fluid in the mixed martial arts context. Almeida somehow keeps this oddly traditional stance, and just digs to the body in his own personal phonebooth with violent precision. Watching him beat up people is like watching a hitman execute his craft with a Winchester rifle.

He keeps his stance real compact, but his feet shuffle quickly, so he covers way more ground than opponents expect. In addition, there's no windup when he strikes. His left hook in particular looks chambered out of hadron collider, teleporting from his stance, combining with a pinching right hand, and an active outside kick. Almeida really is a marvel on the feet, and he digs to the body like digging to the body is going out of style. However, he's kind of hittable and his stance sets him up for the easy takedown.

Granted, he keeps a strong base and doesn't overcommit, so it won't be like grabbing low hanging fruit, but I could definitely see Jabouin having trouble. Yves is not a power puncher but his punches have a little mustard and mayo on them. When he's mixing it up with his spinning arsenal, he's that much more effective. And he's capable of mixing it up on the feet. However, I think Almeida's defense will fortify himself from Jabouin's more eccentric moves. The question will be whether or not he can deal with Yves ability to transition into takedowns (which he's shown the ability to do) while dealing with everything else.


I think ultimately, Almeida's ability to get strikes in on a fighter who can be finished is the nut and bolts to it all. The matchmakers knew this was a perfect stylistic matchup. Frankly, that's fine by me, and how it should always be done. Yves will make him work for it, but I still got Thomas Almeida by Decision.

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