“The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia”welterweight Jake Matthews (@JakeBJJMMA) will blog for Sherdog.com all season long, giving his thoughts, reactions and behind-the-scenes insights on the show. “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia” (#TUFNations) airs each Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 in North America and Thursdays on FX at 4:30 p.m. AEDT (with a second airing at 10:30 p.m. AEDT) in Australia.
So, Team Canada retains the fight pick. Patrick Cote matches up Zein Saliba and Elias Theodorou, and of course we were very confident that Zein was going to be the first win for the Aussies. Zein was a little underweight prior to the weigh-in, but that didn’t seem to knock his confidence against the heavier Canadian.
Some drama began to stir in the house. I was shocked to hear the Canadians’ accusations of us “gathering intel.” All we wanted was a chat -- is that too much to ask for?! In our opinions, the fight was over, so why should there be further animosity? It’s in our blood to be friendly.
In all honesty, Nordine Taleb’s constant macho act did get on our nerves a little bit, and I think Brendan O’Reilly finally had enough. I guess you can’t blame him, given the nature of the competition. As for the dishes not being done... well, that part is true. Hey, what do you expect? I’m a kid.
Dan, Dan, Dan! How you did not see that cake in the face coming I will never know. The food fight was great fun. It’s not “The Ultimate Fighter” if there isn’t a food fight at some point, and it was also good to take our minds off the pressure.
As for the fight preparation, Zein really turned the intensity and focus up a notch -- not only in training, but also his personality changed. He was a lot quieter and in his own world almost immediately after the fight pick. In comparison, Elias did seem to be a little too relaxed, although we knew he was taking the fight seriously. I guess that’s his way of preparing.
“The Spartan” loved to talk it up a bit and, luckily for his sake, he could back it up. We weren’t really sure how the fight would pan out. We knew Elias was undefeated in muay Thai and MMA, which we thought would suit Zein’s jiu-jitsu style. In the end, Elias’ pace and conditioning won him the fight. Zein did well considering how experienced Elias was, and not once did he give up!
I was certain that I would be fighting Olivier Aubin-Mercier in the next welterweight bout, but the Canadians tried to throw us off and instead picked Chad Laprise and Chris Indich. I must say, I’m a little nervous for Chris. Chad is a really experienced striker, but in saying that, Chris is one tough, well-rounded dude. Whatever the outcome, I’m sure it will be an awesome fight. Chad is really going to be tested and he had better bring his A-game.
Well, as the tension and excitement climbs, for now, all eyes are focused on the next fight. The Aussie determination grows stronger, as does our bond, and with two loses to carry, the weight of our national pride sits squarely on Chris’ shoulders.
My turn will come soon enough and I eagerly await the chance to show the Canadians how resilient we Aussies are.