It was striker vs. grappler in the welterweight finale of TUF Nations. And the striker won out.
In round one, Aubin-Mercier had trouble finding his range, as Laprise, a native of London, Ont., used solid footwork to dart in and out of range. Laprise peppered Aubin-Mercier with leg kicks. When Aubin-Mercier did manage to get in close, Laprise stuffed all three of his takedown attempts.
Aubin-Mercier is from Boucherville, Quebec, and had the local crowd on his side. They exploded when Aubin-Mercier finally scored a takedown and got Laprise into a guillotine. But Laprise escaped and regained control of the round.
Aubin-Mercier, who won all four of his previous fights via first-round finish, slowed a bit in the third round. Laprise (8-0), for his part, didn't fight like a guy up on the scorecards, as he pushed the pace and took it to Aubin-Mercier all the way to the final horn.
"I can't describe what I feel right now," said Laprise. "I just wanted to come out here and showcase my skills. Thanks to Olivier, he was super tough."