It was striker vs. grappler in the welterweight finale of TUF Nations. And the striker won out.
In a battle of Team Canada teammates, Chad Laprise got the best of Olivier Aubin-Mercier on Wednesday in Quebec City. Laprise won via split decision, winning on scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 30-27.
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.
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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."