Two exciting lightweights do battle this August 23, 2015 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
The Match Up
Lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier 6-1 vs. Tony Sims 12-2
Lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier -245 vs. Tony Sims +205
3 Things You Should Know
1. Aubin-Mercier is pretty good as far as TUF'ers go. Believe it or not, such a description no longer carries a shadow mediocrity with it.
Last year I crunched some numbers from TUF, to see if TUF had actually declined the way people often say it has. In truth, it hadn't. Perhaps more people are just paying less attention. Which there's nothing wrong with. TUF is awful TV. Even at its Mexican standoff* over a cluster of asparagus best.
But the show continues to be its own bizarre feeder league for the UFC. It's not ideal, but it yields enough talent to not be worthless. Which is all you can ask reality TV prospect farming to do, I guess. Mercier lost the TUF Finale to Chad Laprise, but he's 2-0 since losing to the underrated Laprise, and has a stern enough test in front of him.
2. Sims is fun to watch, and fairly talented, so don't expect a blowout despite the odds.
As you can see, Sims has made his living staying as vertical as possible throughout his prizefighting career. The product from Elevation Fight Team has only had one loss in his modern career, to Drew Dober. He fought to a successful debut in the UFC beating Steve Montgomery, and now he's hoping the TUF Finale runner up doesn't get in his way.
3. Make sure your beer is nice and cozy, but not away from the TV for this one. It's a solid scrap between two diametrically opposed forces.
Sims has 10 KO/TKO's within his 12 overall victories. It makes him look like some kind of action packed fighter, but he's far more deliberate. On the feet, he's lightning quick. He switches stances a lot, going southpaw as well as orthodox. And he uncorks a very strong, and powerful overhand right. He's anything but one dimensional given his wrestling background. However, his wrestling background isn't just for show. He powers a very good double from his striking stance where he controls well from top position.
Mercier will be hoping Sims initiates grappling exchanges because this is what he excels at; being able to capitalize, generate, and counter scrambles wherever they arise. He's a powerful fighter who maintains significant balance while in top control. His striking is still a work in progress.
I wouldn't be surprised to see him land though. Sims switches stances a lot, but it's pretty telegraphed in the way the southpaw position signals a takedown. He rarely throws from said stance, opting for his variety of strikes all within the orthodox mode. Mercier may be learning on the job, but he's learned enough to avoid getting beat up by a predictable strategy. It'll be competitive early, and probably into the second round, but Mercier will have enough opportunities to counter Sims' attack with his own grappling dynamism.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier by Split Decision.
*Yes Pizzolatto, involving "actual Mexicans".