Denis Grachev, the man who upset Ismayl Sillakh earlier this year on ESPN Friday Night Fights with a stoppage win, says he'll look to pressure, break down, and knock out Lucian Bute when he travels to Montreal for their November 3 fight.
"I believe beating Bute [in Montreal] will not be easy for me. I will constantly increase the pressure on my opponent and eventually break him. And the judges are likely going to be on his side - so I'll try to finish the fight early."
Grachev (12-0-1, 8 KO) is a former kickboxer who has a career record of 17-3, and 3-1 in mixed martial arts, too. What he lacks in technique, he does make up for in power, toughness, and determination, at least to some degree. Sillakh was heavily favored and considered by some the near future of the 175-pound division, and was able to easily outbox Grachev for much of their bout, but he never went for the finish, and found himself on the bad end of a shocking comeback TKO in the end.
Bute (30-1, 24 KO) is obviously the favorite here. He's far more accomplished, he's fighting at home, he's got a lot to prove right now, and he's a better boxer than Grachev, for a fact. But we know he can be hurt, and we know guys who bring the heat on him can get to him. Grachev isn't Carl Froch, and may not even be Librado Andrade, but he's got some power, and if he's willing and able to walk through some fire, who knows? Bute took a hell of a shellacking from Froch, and may not be 100% back mentally.
I'm not saying I'd look for the upset here. I'm just saying there is that small but notable chance that Lucian Bute is more vulnerable than we might expect, and that Grachev just might have a shot in this one.