While neither The Ultimate Fighter Nations final panned out as a nation vs. nation match-up, there was no importance lost on the significance of the welterweight fight between Canadians Chad Laprise and Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Each put his unblemished professional record on the line on Wednesday night at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec.
Both men looked keyed up as the fight began, but Laprise quickly established control, landing much more fluid strikes than Aubin-Mercier, and stuffing a couple takedown attempts.
Laprise continued to outstrike Aubin-Mercier to start the second round, but Aubin-Mercier finally secured a takedown. Laprise didn’t stay on the mat long, however, quickly bringing the fight back to the feet and planting a hard shot into Aubin-Mercier’s rib cage.
Aubin-Mercier rallied midway through the round and started to have some success landing kicks to Laprise’s body, and more frequently finding a home for his punches.
Laprise did a good job in the final minute of the second frame to again land his punch combinations and kicks, making it a close round as they then moved on to the final five minutes.
Both men stuck to their game plans in the final frame, Laprise continuing to stick to his strengths in the stand-up game, while Aubin-Mercier went after takedowns. Laprise’s takedown defense, however, won out, making him difficult to put on the mat, while he picked Aubin-Mercier apart on the feet.
Laprise landed a spinning back kick in the waning moments of the fight to punctuate his stand-up expertise and capture the TUF Nations welterweight honors.
The judges in Quebec scored the fight in favor of Laprise, albeit it a bit surprisingly as a split decision with scores of 29-28 for Aubin-Mercier and 29-28 and 30-27 for Laprise.
“Words can’t describe how I feel right now,” said Laprise after the fight.
And although he had said prior to the fight that win or lose he intended to drop to lightweight, he hedged on that statement a bit.
“Whoever Joe Silva and Dana White wants me to fight either at 170 or 155 (pounds).”
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