From a fan’s perspective, UFC 231 is a fantastic occasion. Concerning betting opportunities, I am feeling lukewarm. But here are my breakdowns of those fights that I’m looking to play. Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
Decorated jiu-jitsu winner and second degree black belt, Gilbert Burns, has been working on his striking in the past several years. Training beneath famed Dutch kickboxer, Henri Hooft, Burns is currently comfortable wherever the fight takes place.
Together with his newfound striking skills, Burns scored emphatic knockout victories over Jason Saggo and Dan Moret. Unfortunately, opting to bang with Dan Hooker was disastrous and Burns was violently finished in his final fight. I lost money thinking Burns would grapple — oh well!
Even though a good striker, Burns takes dangers defensively and heaps on his shots. Dan Hooker is the kind of fighter that could capitalize on defensive lapses — however I’m unsure Olivier Aubin-Mercier is.
Coming from a judo history, Aubin-Mercier is immensely strong from the clinch and hefty from leading position. While he’s a whole lot more skilled on the feet than he used to be, Aubin-Mercier still lacks the fluidity of someone that’s a natural striker. He is light on his toes, in and out with his motion and somewhat undependable — but is accurate 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 protector of Gilbert Burns — that speaks volumes.
In his last battle, Aubin-Mercier looked a step behind in the scrambles against Alexander Hernandez and I would anticipate a master of body manipulation like Gilbert Burns to dominate the mat too (though I wish there was more footage of Burns fighting his back to create a much better assessment).
I believe the striking exchanges will be competitive, but I provide Burns a small edge. Stylistically, this seems tricky for Aubin-Mercier and that I can not predict his strategy. Perhaps the Canadian will attempt to restrain his opponent against the fence, but minus shooting takedowns?
I do believe Aubin-Mercier is the better athlete and has the superior cardio. Still, I’ll take my chances of Gilbert Burns as a +120 underdog like I think he should be a small favorite.
Elias Theodorou vs. Eryk Anders
In a middleweight showdown between two boxers with contrasting designs (and characters ), Eryk Anders takes on Elias Theodorou.
A fantastic athletic, Anders is volatile yet has good cardio. Struggling from the southpaw stance, Anders packs huge power in his left hand but in my view, goes head hunting a bit too much. In his final bout, Thiago Santos was prepared for the key weapon of Anders — which restricted his offensive success.

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