Mike Easton Takes Main Event in Split Decision
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Anacostia native Mike "The Hulk" Easton waited six months for this.
As his opponent, Chase Beebe, shadow-boxed his way around the hexagon before their five-round bantamweight championship battle Saturday night -- the main event of a nine-card mixed martial arts event at Patriot Center dubbed Ultimate Warrior Challenge 7: Redemption -- Easton milked his time in the spotlight.
He danced his way out of a smoke-filled doorway, took time to acknowledge fans, popped his green incredible hulk T-Shirt to fans and ran around the hexagon.
He felt he'd earned the right to take his time.
After all, Beebe, a former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion, had delayed Easton's arrival to the mainstream mixed martial arts world after he flaked the day before their fight this past April.
Saturday night, before a crowd of 5,128, Easton (9-1) made Beebe (12-5) pay as he worked the Chicago-based fighter with his powerful punches and kicks that earned him a split decision; one that allowed him to keep his belt but also drew him a heavy set of boos from a crowd that thought Beebe had won the fight.
"It is what it is, you know, some people thought he won, some people thought I won," said Easton, a 135-pound muscle-packed brawler with quick hands, leg kicks and showmanship to boot. "It's controversial and that's fun."
In his second defense of his UWC bantamweight belt, Easton went after Beebe without hesitation, throwing hay-makers, some that landed, and delivered some of his signature high kicks, threw in some leg kicks, and landed a vicious second-round upper cut. He avoided Beebe's rear-naked choke attempt by scrambling for the last minute of the third round before Beebe took the fight to the ground for the final two rounds. Beebe dominated the final two rounds and avoided an Easton fifth-round rally attempt that brought the crowd to its feet.
"He truly didn't hurt me on the ground," said Easton. "I killed him standing up."
By failing to make his flight to Virginia the day before his highly anticipated UWC main event battle with Easton in April, Beebe scorned promoters and also trounced what many experts thought was Easton's chance to prove he was worthy of bigger shows like WEC.
Beebe told UWC promoters that a knee injury prevented him from upholding his contractual obligation for the April 25 event, however, less than two weeks later, Beebe fought in "Dream: 7" -- a top-notch show in Japan, where he dropped a split decision to Will Ribeiro.
"I just got to learn from this," said Beebe, who dropped his fourth straight fight. "I got to put an opponent away, especially when I come to his home town. I thought I won that fight decisively."