From a fan’s standpoint, UFC 231 is a wonderful event. Concerning betting opportunities, I am feeling lukewarm. Nevertheless, here are my hints of those fights I’m looking to playwith. Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Decorated jiu-jitsu champion and second degree black belt, Gilbert Burns, was working on his striking in recent years. Training beneath famed Dutch kickboxer, Henri Hooft, Burns is now comfortable wherever the fight occurs.
With his newfound striking skills, Burns scored emphatic knockout victories over Jason Saggo and Dan Moret. Regrettably, opting to bang Dan Hooker proved to be disastrous and Burns was violently finished in his final struggle. I lost money believing Burns would grapple — oh well!
Even though a solid striker, Burns takes dangers defensively and loads on his own shots. Dan Hooker is the type of fighter that could capitalize on defensive lapses — but I am unsure Olivier Aubin-Mercier is.
Coming from a judo history, Aubin-Mercier is immensely strong in the clinch and heavy from top position. While he is much more skilled on the toes than he was, Aubin-Mercier still lacks the fluidity of someone that is a natural striker. He is light on his feet, out and in with his movement and slightly tentative — but is true when he flames.
While Aubin-Mercier is a jiu-jitsu brown belt, I doubt he would like to go to the mat with Burns. The muscle-bound human blanket, Michel Prazeres, refused to dive into the guard of Gilbert Burns — that speaks volumes.
In his last fight, Aubin-Mercier appeared a step behind in the scrambles from Alexander Hernandez and I’d expect a master of body manipulation like Gilbert Burns to dominate the mat too (although I wish there was more footage of Burns fighting his back to make a much better assessment).
I think the striking trades will be competitive, but I give Burns a slight edge. Stylistically, this seems tricky for Aubin-Mercier and that I can’t predict his approach. Perhaps the Canadian will attempt to control his competitor against the fence, but minus shooting takedowns?
I do believe Aubin-Mercier is the better athlete and has the superior cardio. However, I’ll take my chances with Gilbert Burns as a +120 underdog as I think he must be a slight favorite.
Elias Theodorou vs. Eryk Anders
At a middleweight showdown between two fighters with contrasting styles (and characters ), Eryk Anders takes on Elias Theodorou.
A great athletic, Anders is explosive yet has great cardio. Struggling out of the southpaw stance, Anders packs huge power in his left hand but in my view, goes head searching a bit too much. In his last bout, Thiago Santos was prepared for the key weapon of Anders — which restricted his offensive success.

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