Quebec’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier worked hard against the American ” Cassius » Clay Collard, but nonetheless enjoyed a second straight lightweight victory on Friday at The Anthem in Washington, DC
The 34-year-old Montrealer repeated the feat – and earned a second million dollars in as many years – in what could be the final MMA fight of his career, as he signed for a unanimous decision victory after five hard-fought rounds.
The three judges handed out identical cards 49-46 in favor of Aubin-Mercier, who implemented outstanding qualities on the field during this latest clash.
” Back to back, barbarian! “, he said enthusiastically at the beginning of his post-fight interview.
“Thank you to everyone who came, thank you to everyone watching the fight at home!” he said, speaking quickly in French to a crowd full of La Belle Province fans, who had traveled in large numbers.
“I’m really tired, I think it’s over,” he continued, offering another clue to his retirement.
“I need a break, at least for the next few years. I would like to thank my coaches, my girlfriend, my daughter, my parents… I’m bored, I can’t wait to see you! »
From the third minute of the fight, Aubin-Mercier began to apply the strategy that has brought him so much praise in recent years at 155 lbs, taking control of the fight on the ground.
Collard was able to escape a triangular grip by the Quebecers, but only temporarily repulsed the OAM’s offensive. The latter methodically continued holding on to his opponent’s leg, controlling him for long seconds until the bell sounded to announce the end of the round.
With Aubin-Mercier’s advantage being mostly positional, Collard looked to start the second round with energy, including some sustained punches.
Calmly, the reigning champion, however, let the storm pass and returned his opponent to the cage, in the same vulnerable state that also characterized the last three minutes of the opening bout.
Although Collard was able to protect his chin from Aubin-Mercier’s forearms, claiming the victory via submission, the 30-year-old American retreated to his corner in rather poor condition after ten minutes of the fight, as chants of “Oli!” Oli! » echoed through the DC amphitheater
At the start of the third round, resistance ” Canadian gangster » it was suffocating again and it was difficult for Collard to match in the first moments. However, it was Collard who landed the most significant power punches, using a visibly damaged right leg on Aubin-Mercier’s side to reverse the trend.
The Utah native seemed to find a rhythm as the final two rounds approached.
“I should have finished it,” said Aubin-Mercier. We knew he was tough. He’s crazy, a moron. We knew and we were ready. But he surprised me with how strong he was to get up when I had his back. Honestly, my legs were burning. The lactic acid was there. (…) It made me do things I wasn’t used to, like resting. »
The start of the fourth attack confirmed this trend and did not prove to be very reassuring for the Quebecer, who suffered several good combinations of body shots from Collard.
Aubin-Mercier’s experience was certainly the most valuable to him from the first seconds of the decisive round, as “OAM” brilliantly managed to neutralize the American shooter immediately after the bell.
Given the enormity of the stakes, we could already predict without fear of being wrong that the Quebecer would do everything possible to ensure that Collard did not take advantage of any other opportunity to find himself in a standing fighting position. And that’s what he did.
Aubin-Mercier was knocked out. To Scot Stevie « Brave Heart » Ray with a single punch in the second round of their fight on November 25, 2022, to secure both awards at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden.
Aubin-Mercier (21-5-0) began his season in April with a decision win over former UFC fighter “ hurricane “Shane Burgos, before slowing down his Canadian compatriot Anthony” A genius » Romero in the third round in June, and the Brazilian Bruno “Robusto” Miranda in the second round in August.
Winning a second PFL title, he said, “would be the perfect ending to my career.”
During the co-finals, among heavyweights, Brazilian Renan Ferreira became the new champion of his category, winning by knockout. Russian Denis Golcov in his second engagement.