Following Chad Laprise’s violent finish of teammate Kajan Johnson in the welterweight semifinals, Team Australia’s Tyler Manawaroa will now collide with Team Canada’s Elias Theodorou in the middleweight round of four.
On the way back to the fighter house, Laprise expresses his hope that Johnson’s injured jaw does not require serious attention. The fighters also briefly address the coaching imbalance evident in last week’s bout, with Johnson having just one voice in his corner against the three helping Laprise. Team Australia laments the fact that Johnson felt little support from his coaching staff.
Along with the members of Team Australia, Laprise and Nordine Taleb wait for Johnson to return home from the hospital. Everybody gives “Ragin’ Kajan” a hug and congratulates him on a hard-fought bout.
Laprise really begins to feel bad about what he has done to his friend and training partner after Johnson reveals that his jaw is broken in three places and will soon require surgery. However, Johnson tells his friend not to worry.
“I would have done the same s--- to you, bro,” Johnson says, “I wouldn’t have expected anything less. If you had tried less, I would have been insulted.”
During Team Australia’s training session, Manawaroa preps for his upcoming fight with Theodorou. His coaches laud the prospect’s natural ability, and Kyle Noke believes that it will be an easy fight for his countryman if Manawaroa fights up to his potential. However, Manawaroa’s wild style backfires a bit in training when he accidentally catches coach Adrian Pang with a low kick to the cup.
Manawaroa downs a pre-fight meal of french fries and tater tots, while Theodorou makes a supplement shake. The Canadian is excited that the semifinals will feature three-round fights, and he does not believe that Manawaroa will be able to handle his pace.
Later, coach Patrick Cote introduces Brazilian Top Team founder and ex-UFC champion Murilo Bustamante, who shouts advice to Theodorou during a four-round sparring session with Cote.
“I’m going to do what I want, when I want, and that’s always,” Thodorou says.
In spite of his greasy pre-fight meal, Manawaroa makes 186 pounds, while Theodorou checks in at 185 before donning a phony helmet and screaming the cringe-inducing catchphrase from the film “300.”
The undefeated prospects square off in the Octagon, and Theodorou quickly closes the gap. The men jockey for position, taking turns in spinning each other against the cage. Theodorou grabs a single-leg and briefly dumps the Aussie to the mat, but Manawaroa quickly regains his base. The men trade knees to the ribs before the Canadian hoists Manawaroa high in the air with a double-leg slam. However, the “Wild Thing” once again scrambles to his feet. Thodorou clasps onto a rear waist lock and dumps Manawaroa, who pops back up once more and then turns the tables with a slick foot sweep. Theodorou turns away, and the Aussie jumps on his foe’s back as the Canadian stands, but Theodorou leaps backward and slams his opponent to the canvas. The move dislodges Manawaroa’s hooks, and Theodorou resumes his clinch control after a scramble.
Manawaroa measures distance much better to start the second round, keeping the Canadian at bay with long punches and kicks. However, the Aussie soon overextends, and Theodorou seizes the opportunity to clinch up. He lifts Manawaroa over his head with a double-leg, but the Aussie is able to break his fall and pops right back up. Manawaroa separates from his sticky opponent midway through the frame and nails his man with a counter knee to the temple. Nevertheless, Theodorou continues to move forward and bulls “Wild Thing” into the fence for the umpteenth time, dumping the Aussie with another slam. This time, Theodorou climbs on top, where he rides out the final minute of round two.
Noke tells Manawaroa he needs a finish before round three, and the Aussie comes out firing. However, Theodorou once again closes the gap and puts Manawaroa on his back. Theodorou grinds from Manawaroa’s guard, tossing aside a weak armbar attempt and pecking away with short punches that do little real damage. The Aussie explodes to his feet with 90 seconds to go and pops the Canadian with a short right, but the finish will not come for Manawaroa, who is taken down once more to end the one-sided semifinal. Theodorou is the winner by unanimous decision and the first middleweight finalist.
Next week, the coaches will square off in what appears to be a French-Canadian lumberjack challenge, while Richard Walsh and Olivier Aubin-Mercier will lock horns to decide who meets Laprise at the live finale.