Saturday’s UFC 231 fight card is packed with excellent matchups, but none boasts more preceding trash talk than the clash between Eryk Anders and Elias Theodorou.
For the past few months, the pair of middleweights exchanged tweets, stemming from Anders’ call-out of Theodorou in a post-fight interview back in August.
Just when it looked like the two rivals’ schedules wouldn’t line up, Theodorou’s original opponent, Antonio Carlos Junior, fell off the card due to an injury.
Without hesitation, Anders stepped in.
Contrary to the soft-spoken, respectful reputation he established thus far in his MMA career, Anders says fans should expect more trash talk from him in the future.
“I like to talk trash—a lot of people just don’t know me,” Anders said in an interview with FloCombat. “I say what I gotta say to get the fight, and once I get the fight, all the extra stuff is out the window. We’ll let the fists do the talking at this point.”
While Anders does feel the past few months have exacerbated his negative feelings about Theodorou, his initial reasoning was strictly strategic.
“Closed mouths don’t get fed,” Anders said. “My goal was to get to the top 15, in that 11 - 15 range, and he’s in there. I like the matchup between myself and 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 range. I said his name hoping to get anybody, but I got the name I asked for. It’s good for me.”
With the bout in Toronto just days away, Anders has had plenty of time to study his Canadian foe. The former University of Alabama linebacker says he expects a tame, calculated Theodorou on fight night.
“Every time he fights a big puncher, it seems like he likes to wrestle,” Anders said. “I can imagine he’ll try to implement the same game plan he did against Sam Alvey—press me up against the cage, try to use his wrestling and cardio a little bit.
“When we’re not clinched up or tied up, he’ll try to use his distance, explode, and dart. Then he’ll start wrestling. I don’t think his open wrestling is very good, so I don’t imagine he’ll really try to take me down in the open space—more so he’ll just try to keep his hands on me.”
Anders vs. Theodorou is currently set to air on the Fox Sports 1 portion of the evening’s preliminary card, prior to the UFC 231 main card kicking off at 10 PM ET.