From a fan’s standpoint, UFC 231 is a fantastic occasion. Concerning betting opportunities, I’m feeling lukewarm. But here are my hints of those fights I’m looking to playwith. Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Decorated jiu-jitsu winner and second degree black belt, Gilbert Burns, has been working on his striking in recent decades. Training under famed Dutch kickboxer, Henri Hooft, Burns is currently comfortable wherever the battle occurs.
Together with his newfound striking skills, Burns scored strong knockout victories over Jason Saggo and Dan Moret. Regrettably, preferring to bang Dan Hooker proved to be disastrous and Burns was violently finished in his last struggle. I lost money thinking Burns would grapple — oh well!
While a solid striker, Burns takes dangers defensively and heaps on his shots. Dan Hooker is the kind of fighter that could capitalize on defensive lapses — but I am unsure Olivier Aubin-Mercier is.
Coming out of a judo history, Aubin-Mercier is immensely strong from the clinch and heavy from leading position. While he is much more proficient on the toes than he used to be, Aubin-Mercier still lacks the fluidity of someone that’s a pure striker. He is light on his toes, in and out with his movement and slightly undependable — but is accurate when he fires.
While Aubin-Mercier is a jiu-jitsu brown belt, I doubt he would like to go to the mat with Burns. Even the muscle-bound human blanket, Michel Prazeres, refused to dive into the guard of Gilbert Burns — which speaks volumes.
In his last fight, Aubin-Mercier appeared a step behind in the scrambles from Alexander Hernandez and I’d anticipate a master of body manipulation such as Gilbert Burns to dominate on the mat as well (though I wish there was more footage of Burns fighting his back to make a better assessment).
I believe the striking trades will be aggressive, but I provide Burns a small edge. Stylistically, this looks catchy for Aubin-Mercier and that I can not predict his strategy. Maybe the Canadian will try and control his opponent against the weapon, but minus shooting takedowns?
I really do believe Aubin-Mercier is the better athlete and certainly has the cardio. However, I will take my chances with Gilbert Burns as a +120 underdog like I think he should be a slight favorite.
Elias Theodorou vs. Eryk Anders
At a middleweight showdown between two boxers with contrasting styles (and characters ), Eryk Anders takes on Elias Theodorou.
A great athletic, Anders is explosive yet has good cardio. Struggling out of the southpaw stance, Anders packs huge power in his left hand — but in my opinion, goes head hunting a little too much. In his final bout, Thiago Santos was well prepared for the primary weapon of Anders — which limited his offensive success.
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