Two of the UFC's most promising bantamweights duked it out last night (July 7, 2012) as Alliance MMA fighter Mike Easton took on veteran Ivan Menjivar in the opening bout of the UFC 148 main card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Menjivar had a serious experience advantage against Easton, but someone forgot to tell "The Hulk."
That's because Easton showed absolutely no fear of "The Pride of El Salvador," never backing down an instant and continuously forcing him to move in reverse.
Menjivar threw a wide variety of attacks, but what ended up being the reason he clearly lost a unanimous decision when it was all said and done? And what happens next for both men?
From the onset, Easton pressed forward and he pressed forward often. "The Hulk" simply stalked Menjivar from the center of the Octagon, occasionally throwing punches and kicks while Menjivar was forced to move backwards in a defensive stance while winging all sorts of kicks and spinning attacks.
The biggest strike of the fight belonged to Easton with a head kick that connected and staggered the Tristar product in the first round.
Menjivar could never get comfortable. It had to be really frustrating for "The Pride of El Salvador" as he simply was constantly on his heels and never was given much of an opportunity to plant his feet and throw anything with zip on it.
As the fight wore on, Easton began to open up a bit more, throwing nice body punches and mixing in heavy leg kicks. To remove all doubt, he scored a takedown at the end of the third round and rode out a nice portion of the fight from top position.
What was frustrating for Menjivar fans was once he got back to his feet with a minute left, he showed absolutely no sense of urgency. He needed a finish and he just didn't look like he was trying for one. The judges keyed on that and Easton was easily awarded a decision.
For Ivan Menjivar, he has to be disheartened with his showing last night. This was an opportunity to showcase his skills to a tremendous audience. He had been placed in the opening bout of the main card for a reason and he failed to deliver. I think what really killed him was the fact that he kept throwing these single ineffective and goofy attacks which needed a large amount of space. Because of this, he had to continuously move backwards to create that space for him to throw them. In a fight where neither man landed a significant amount of strikes, the fact that he was constantly on his heels looked really bad for the judges and it showed. Worst of all was that complete lack of urgency in the final minute. It was like he didn't realize he was losing the fight.
I'd like to see Menjivar face Miguel Torres in his next bout. Other options include Scott Jorgensen and Brian Bowles. He needs a big win over a big name if he wants to ever get a shot at contending before he calls it a career.
For Mike Easton, this wasn't the most exciting fight, but he fought smartly and aggressively and his constant pressure gave Menjivar fits all night. He has a unique fighting style and while it doesn't mean much in terms of finishing ability, it can definitely present match-up problems against a lot of tough fighters.
I'd love to see Easton face someone Eddie Wineland in his next bout to see where he stands in the division. Other options include Michael McDonald or perhaps TUF Brazil winner Rony Jason, who said he's dropping down to bantamweight after winning his season of the show in June.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was this fight anything like you expected? Can Easton actually contend at 135 pounds? Where does Ivan Menjivar go from here?