UFC 148: Ivan Menjivar vs Mike Easton Head-to-Toe Breakdown
The biggest rematch in UFC history takes place this weekend at UFC 148. This fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen has garnered much media attention, overshadowing almost every other fight on the card.
Also gracing the main card is a bantamweight scrap between Ivan Menjivar and Mike Easton. Both are hard-nosed fighters who are aggressive and look to finish fights.
In addition to that, both men are undefeated thus far in the UFC, as Menjivar is 3-0 and Easton is 2-0.
Let's break down this fight between two potential bantamweight contenders and take a look at the possible winner of this important bout.
The striking between both men is completely different. While Menjivar mostly uses his striking on the feet to open up a takedown, Easton uses solid boxing to pick apart opponents. Menjivar is a situational striker, while Easton is a brawler.
Menjivar has nine career knockout wins, but most are from ground-and-pound stoppages. His most impressive knockout came in his UFC debut, when Menjivar knocked out Charlie Valencia with elbows.
On the other hand, Easton owns just four knockout wins in his much shorter career, but has shown his striking prowess as of late. A tae kwon do black belt, Easton showed in his first two UFC bouts against Byron Bloodworth and Jared Papazian that he has striking that needs to be feared.
Working with the Alliance has turned Easton into a well-polished fighter. His striking is more powerful and superior when on the feet.
Edge: Mike Easton
Both men come in with solid grappling credentials and decent wrestling ability.
Ivan Menjivar's training with Tristar in Montreal has definitely made him into a respectable wrestler. Menjivar is able to power through and gain takedowns on opponents who should be taking him down.
In addition to that, his grappling is impressive despite being a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. Recently, Menjivar has out-grappled John Albert, a Dennis Hallman training partner, and Nick Pace, another brown belt in jiu-jitsu.
As for Easton, one could argue that his wrestling is better than Menjivar's. He has powerful takedowns and explosiveness. He also has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Although Easton has a higher-ranked belt in BJJ than Menjivar, that does not mean it translates better to MMA. That is why there is no clear advantage between these two.
The difference in submission ability can be seen through each man's record.
Ivan Menjivar has nine career submissions, even though he has 19 more fights than Mike Easton. Of these nine submissions, Menjivar has pulled out some technical moves. He has wins with triangle chokes, armbars, kneebars and even a calf slicer over Joe Lauzon.
Easton has just two submissions, as he prefers a ground-and-pound style. Those two submissions are guillotine chokes, including one against UFC flyweight Josh Ferguson.
Edge: Ivan Menjivar
There are a couple intangibles that exist going into this fight.
First off, Menjivar is vastly more experienced. In his 30-plus fight career, he has faced the likes of Georges St. Pierre, Jeff Curran, Matt Serra, Joe Lauzon, Urijah Faber and Brad Pickett. His experience and level of competition give him a great advantage against Easton.
Another issue will be the weight cut. Menjivar cuts a lot of weight, even missing weight in his scrap against Nick Pace—Menjivar fought as high as welterweight, which is 35 pounds apart from bantamweight. Easton seems to cut weight well, proving he has the cut down to a science.
Finally, one thing that will not play a factor is the training camps. Easton trains with Lloyd Irvin and the Alliance gym, which is home to such training partners as Dominick Cruz, Ross Pearson and Jeremy Stephens. Menjivar trains at Tristar with Georges St. Pierre, Rory MacDonald and the rest of that top-notch team.
All of these will make this fight a must-watch bout.
At the end of the day, whoever wins this fight will be one step closer to the title picture. Not only that, but we will win, as this has "Fight of the Night" written all over it.
What I see happening is Easton controlling the striking on the feet, while fending off the clinch and takedowns from Menjivar. Menjivar will stay aggressive with the takedowns, possibly scoring one at some point.
Easton is not John Albert and Nick Pace. He will have the takedown defense to keep Menjivar at bay. From there, he will use takedowns of his own to score points, while using his superior striking to pick apart Menjivar.
I doubt Easton will finish the tough Salvadoran-Canadian. There is a chance in any fight for it to happen, but Menjivar is too tough and gritty to be put away so easily.
Prediction: Mike Easton def. Ivan Menjivar via decision