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UFC Saskatoon’s Fighter to Watch: Olivier Aubin-Mercier and the Potential of a Young Fighter

Steven Cavagnino



There are several reasons to watch a fighter compete. Knockout power, technique, submission prowess, and killer instinct are but just a few of them. But another, more abstract reason is potential. Not the potential for violence or the potential to see a knockout, but the potential a fighter has within them. It’s a less popular reason to tune into a fight, in fact, it’s probably one of the last things you’ll hear when you ask someone “Why do you like this fighter?” But for those fans who track the careers of certain fighters, every bout is another opportunity to see how said fighter has grown and if he/she is closer to reaching their full potential.

Those of us who have the privilege of training around up and coming fighters tend to see their growth on a more day to day basis, but for other fans, it’s sometimes months between seeing their favorite fighter perform. Furthermore, it’s usually only for 15 minutes at a time at most. It’s in those 15 minutes that a fighter’s potential is both born and put to the test. How many times have we heard that a fighter is a world-beater in the gym but just can’t put it together when it’s show time. Or how about the opposite? A fighter who has great success in the cage, but can’t seem to stay out of trouble in between fights.

It’s this potential that many fighters have, few hold on to, and even less fully reach. This Sunday, the UFC visits Saskatoon with a fight night card full of Canadian potential. Perhaps the greatest of that potential comes in the form of undefeated lightweight, Olivier Aubin-Mercier, or OAM as his fans like to call him. The 26 year old ‘Quebec Kid’ has been on the UFC’s roster since making it to the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Australia. Despite losing in the finals, OAM has quickly become a fan favorite and one of Canada’s best hopes as their next UFC star.

Sporting a 6-1 record (with his lone loss in the aforementioned TUF finale), the welterweight-turned-lightweight has 6 career submissions to his name. With only 7 fights, OAM’s Mixed Martial Arts career is certainly a young one, but it’s hard to dismiss the fact that he has submitted 6 of his 7 opponents. Even more impressive is that Olivier Aubin-Mercier shows a new wrinkle in his game every time he makes an Octagon appearance. Only a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Firas Zihabi, OAM has a lot to learn, and that might be the scariest thing about him. He has yet to stumble, despite the loss, of his trajectory as a fighter, both in and out of the octagon, has been nothing but positive. Couple that with the fact that he is training at one of the world’s best gyms in Tristar, and you have an unlimited amount of potential.

With all the right people in his corner (literally and figuratively), OAM is poised to become the next breakout Canadian star. Although he has expressed in the past that he doesn’t necessarily like to be compared to Georges St. Pierre, it’s difficult not to wonder if the man who also has a 3 letter acronym as a nickname can achieve the level of greatness his predecessor did. With such potential, it’s no wonder why people tune in to watch OAM compete. The question this weekend, though: will he continue his ascent in reaching his full potential?

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217



UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.


This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results



Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams



Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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