WINNIPEG – A bantamweight curtain-jerker between Yves Jabouin and Dustin Pague offered another case study in the relative values of position, strikes and submission attempts – at least through the eyes of three judges.

Despite Pague constantly threatening submissions and securing several dominant positions, the French-Canadian Jabouin took the fight on two of three judges’ scorecards for a split-decision win.

The bantamweight bout opened today’s UFC 161 event at MTS Centre in Winnipeg. It streamed on Facebook ahead of additional prelims on FX and a pay-per-view main card.

Prior to the fight, Pague told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he expected a standup affair with striker Jabouin. But instead, the two tumbled to the mat early and spent the better part of the fight in a heated grappling match.

It was Pague who repeatedly looked to get the better of mat exchanges as he slapped on armbar and triangle-choke attempts. But Jabouin proved crafty at escaping them just before they threatened to end his night.

Despite gaining back mount for much of the second round, Pague struggled to put away Jabouin, who pulled off one of several reversals in the latter part of rounds. Jabouin appeared winded from a frenzied first round but still managed to land several hard elbows from top position.

Pague again dominated position early in the third frame, but couldn’t seal the deal and found himself on bottom with time running low.

“That was a war, man,” Jabouin said afterward. “I was trying to set up my shots, land a big combination, but after the first shot, he’d be right in my face every time. He just kept coming and coming. He was great at setting up his subs, but honestly, the only time he came really close was in the last round with the armbar. I think because I was so relaxed I was able to get out of it. If I had panicked and [tried] to muscle out, I would have got caught.”

The final judges’ scores were 29-28 twice for Jabouin and 29-28 once for Pague.

Jabouin (19-8 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who’s grappling was an Achilles’ heel early in his career, is now 4-1 since moving to bantamweight. Pague (11-8 MMA, 1-4 UFC), meanwhile, has won just one fight since his time on “The Ultimate Fighter 14.”

Up-to-the-minute UFC 161 results include:

  • Yves Jabouin def. Dustin Pague via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

For complete coverage of UFC 161, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

Matt Erickson and Ben Fowlkes contributed to this report on-site in Winnipeg.

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