In the co-main event of UFC Ottawa, we will see a bout in which is a contrast of styles, when the methodical and strategic Elias Theodorou takes on the wild and spontaneous Derek Brunson. Both participants seem very much aware of this contrast, as evident from Elias Theodorou’s comments on UFC Ottawa’s media day: (transcription via MMA Junkie):
“In many ways, I think our styles couldn’t be more opposite,” Theodorou told reporters. “He’s someone who’s aggressive right off the bat, where I’m more cerebral and look to find ways to win.”
Elias Theodorou recognizes that Derek Brunson’s much more fast-paced and aggressive style could benefit Brunson in the early goings of their encounter, but that his style is better suited for the long game, and Theodorou has a fitting analogy for the type of game he wants to play against Brunson:
“He lives by the sword and dies by the sword and it’s probably going to be a tough first 10, five minutes. But, from then, I’m going to show him the difference between chess and checkers,” Theodorou said. “I think if you look at one Derek Brunson fight, you’ve seen them all,” Theodorou said. ”He in a previous life was a sprinter, in high school and college, and I think that obviously translates. But I’m going to show him the difference between a sprint and a marathon.”
And what may make Brunson even more aggressive than usual is the fact that he’s now lost two consecutive bouts. And sometimes the most dangerous fighter is a fighter with everything to lose:
“I’ve still got to look at that as a desperate man is a dangerous man, but he’s been fighting like he’s desperate for quite some time, right?” Theodorou said. “If you look at his wins or his losses, it’s in the first round. And part of that is, again, that sprinter mentality. He fights very emotional. Fights start about 50/50, obviously, in regard to each opponent has distance, each opponent has their barrier.
“And he almost feels compelled, out of emotion, to break that barrier. You’ve seen that in fights like the Robert Whittaker one, where he had him and he just exerted everything. Or if you look at that last one, with Israel Adesanya, he respected Israel’s striking so much that he desperately went for a takedown. He’s an emotional fighter, where I use my brain.”
“I’ve saved myself up in regard to all my chips in the wars and the battles being the smarter fighter. I’ll enter the octagon smarter and I’ll exit it smarter,” Theodorou concluded.
Do you believe Elias Theodorou will outsmart Derek Brunson to pick up the victory in the UFC Ottawa co-main event?