Olivier Aubin-Mercier used stifling grappling to control Tony Sims for three rounds and earn a unanimous decision in Saskatoon, Sunday night. Scores were 30-27 (twice) and 29-28 for the young French-Canadian.
Sims spent most of the fight defending takedowns, submissions, or trying to get off his back as Aubin-Mercier stuck to a smart grappling-based strategy against the dangerous striker. In the first, Aubin-Mercier lifted Sims over his shoulder, high up off the ground before slamming him to the mat, taking his back and spending the rest of the period there.
Aubin-Mercier looked close to sinking in a rear-naked choke at moments, but Sims defended well. "He has no neck," the 26-year-old joked, afterwards.
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In the second round, Sims did a better job of defending takedowns and getting back to his feet, but still spent the majority of the period on his heels or on his back. In the third, Sims stopped Aubin-Mercier from completing a takedown against the cage for a good while, and managed to hurt the young Canadian a great deal with elbows and punches to the side of the head.
Eventually, Aubin-Mercier grinded his way back to top position on the ground, however. From there, he once again took the back mount and spent the rest of the fight there, looking for a rear-naked choke with a figure-four locked up.
"I stuck to the game plan and I'm kind of proud of it," the Tri-Star gym member said after the scores were read, declaring him the winner.
"I stuck to the game plan and I got the win."
Aubin-Mercier improves his record to 7-1, overall, and wins his third straight since losing the "The Ultimate Fighter: Nations" finals to Chad Laprise in 2014. Sims had a four fight win streak snapped with the defeat and sees his record dip to 12-3.