When it comes to Aubin-Mercier, he has a preferential style matchup. Yes, Gilbert Burns is an outstanding and legitimately world-class jiu-jitsu player. However, Aubin-Mercier’s losses have come when he’s not able to buy takedowns. He couldn’t take down Carlos Diego Ferreira, and as we found out, Alexander Hernandez isn’t exactly an easy out. However, even with Burns’ continued training under Henri Hooft at Hard Knocks 365, Aubin-Mercier has vastly improved his striking, possesses superior conditioning and should be able to buy takedowns when necessary. This is absolutely his sort of fight to grind out.
As for Katona, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 27 winner doesn’t really have any particular individual skills that stand out above his contemporaries. However, he is dropping down to his more natural weight class at 135 pounds, and opponent Matthew Lopez, while he may be the more dynamic party, has an awful lot of trouble keeping up with opponents and routinely gasses out halfway through 15-minute affairs. I think Katona will work a conservative game. He’s going to pump his jab, land low kicks and be the superior scrambler to Lopez. It’s not going to be a dominant win by any stretch, but Katona should be able to use his fundamentals in every round to not just best Lopez but also tire him out and take a more resounding control over the bout as the fight rolls on to earn himself a tidy decision. That’s three competitive favorites sorted for +355, which is fine money if you ask me.