The fourth of six main card fights is a battle of bantamweights, as Yves Jabouin will take on Brad Pickett.
Striking: Pickett might have a nickname of “One Punch,” but that doesn’t mean he’s a good striker. Pickett was overwhelmed by a superior talent in Renan Barao at UFC 138, but even before that, he struggled to out-strike fighters like Ivan Menjivar and Scott Jorgensen. In particular, Pickett has weak striking defense; opponents are usually able to land strikes on him with high accuracy. That’s not good news for Pickett in this fight, because he’s taking on a quality striker in Yves Jabouin. Jabouin isn’t the most accurate striker in the bantamweight division, but he should be accurate enough to land strikes regularly on Pickett. Jabouin also has more power than Pickett; neither man has won by TKO in a while, but Jabouin has won by that outcome much more frequently than Pickett has. Where Pickett could manage to out-point Jabouin is in activity rate. Jabouin has a tendency to fight at a slower pace than his opponent sometimes. If that’s the case in this fight, Pickett could end up landing more strikes despite being less accurate with them than Jabouin. Overall, I’ll give the striking advantage to Jabouin, because he really is the better striker, especially if he keeps the same pace as Pickett.
Wrestling: When thinking of wrestlers in the bantamweight division, Yves Jabouin and Brad Pickett aren’t the first names that come to mind, but they’re usually pretty good in the takedown game. This is particularly true of Pickett, a fighter who took down Demetrious Johnson numerous times, and handily won the takedown battle against Damacio Page in his last fight. When Pickett wins in a high level fight, it’s usually because of his takedowns, not because of his striking. Meanwhile, Jabouin is a fighter with good takedown defense, who isn’t afraid to mix in some takedown attempts of his own against the right opponent. Against Pickett, I think Jabouin will look to keep the fight standing, but Pickett is so good with takedowns that I think he’ll land a few anyway.
Submissions: Pickett has a clear advantage here, with ten career wins by submission, to just one for Jabouin. If this fight goes to the ground, it’s most likely because Pickett took it there, and once it’s on the ground, Jabouin could be in some trouble. Pickett also has a very good guillotine choke, which accounts for four of his submission victories. If Pickett is smart, he’ll want this fight on the ground, and if Jabouin is smart, he’ll do whatever possible to keep that from happening.
Prediction: Brad Pickett by decision. This assumes that Pickett is successful in landing takedowns. If he is, then I think he has a good chance of submitting Jabouin, or at least producing enough offense on the ground to win a clear decision. But if Jabouin is able to consistently stuff Pickett’s takedowns, it’s a different fight, as I feel Jabouin is the significantly better striker. In a striking match, Pickett has a chance if he’s able to simply out-work Jabouin, but if Jabouin matches him strike for strike, he’s almost certain to win in the end. This won’t be an easy one for Pickett, but I think he will be able to land a few takedowns and do just enough to earn the judges’ nod in this one.