UFC bantamweight Mike Easton looked like a future title-contender going into a tilt with Raphael Assuncao last December, riding the momentum of an eight-fight winning streak including three triumphs in the Octagon. Of course, a sport like MMA rarely offers any guarantees, and Easton ended up on the wrong end of a decision at the clash’s conclusion.
Easton recently offered up some insight on how the loss affected his approach to an upcoming bout with Brad Pickett, telling the UFC’s website Assuncao’s ability to switch styles threw him off and ultimately made him realize he needed to diversify his own game to be successful at the highest level possible.
“I have to use more of my skills, and not just being one-dimensional. I’m so good on the ground; a lot of people don’t know how good my jiu-jitsu is. They’ve seen how good my takedown defense is, but they haven’t seen me on the ground, and that’s one thing I definitely have to show the world. If I get it to the ground, and I can get a submission, I’m going to take that submission,” offered Easton. “It’s not always about the knockout, and that’s what I’ve learned from the last fight. I can’t be one-dimensional; I have to be a little more open to everything.”
Against an opponent like Pickett, who he’ll face next weekend at UFC on Fuel 9, Easton won’t have to work too hard to get his adversary to engage him if he does indeed want a knockout. Though “The Hulk” will gladly take a strike-based stoppage, it is more likely to occur when Easton is ahead on the scorecards than during an early flurry.
“We really worked on….mixing my kicks with my boxing and my takedowns; mixing it up so that we can get the points that we need to keep the fight as close as possible so that opponents have to come in and fight me,” explained Easton. “When those opportunities come, the opportunity to get the knockout is definitely going to show itself because it puts them into a desperate situation, and that’s what we’re working on. It’s about being smarter.”
The loss to Assuncao dropped Easton’s record to 14-2. Among the notable opponents he’s beaten are the likes of Chase Beebe, John Dodson, and Ivan Menjivar. Fans can catch his pairing with Pickett on the evening’s main card.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/MMAWEEKLY