‘TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia’ Recap: Episode 2
Canadian coach Patrick Cote
Theodorou to face Australian talent Zein Saliba
in this week’s middleweight clash.
Johnson’s victory over Brendan
O'Reilly, Team Australia returns to the fighter house and
congratulates “Ragin.’” Some members of Team Canada are suspicious
of this friendliness, including Nordine
Taleb, who calls a team meeting after he notices Theodorou
discussing his martial arts background and fight record with
several Aussies in the hot tub. Taleb tightens the screws on his
teammates and expresses his worry that the Australians will pump
them for information under the guise of friendship, and everyone
agrees to keep such info under wraps.
During Team Canada’s training session, Cote brings in former Shooto
titlist and three-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Vitor
Ribeiro. “Shaolin” puts the fighters through their paces, and
Theodorou expresses his excitement at learning from his teammates,
each of whom possess unique strengths.
Back at the house, tension builds between the Aussies and Canadians
due to a perceived lack of tidiness on the Australian side.
Saliba steps on the scale and is pleased to find that he is on
weight. He later admits in a confessional to knowing basically
nothing about Theodorou except that he has a large jaw and loves to
talk -- characteristics that have earned Theodorou the nickname
“Buzz Lightyear” within the Aussie camp. In addition to his
fighting career, Theodorou has modeled, acted and performed stunt
work. He also once charged someone $500 for a date, according to
his chyron description.
Both Theodorou and Saliba check in at 184 pounds ahead of their
matchup. That night, Cote and the Canadian coaching staff stop by
the fighter house for some dinner, and “The Predator” introduces
the squad to his nutritionist.
Later, the Team Australia locker room is filled by cheers for
Kelly, who just turned 36. Coach Kyle Noke buys
his fighter a cake, and Kelly blows out the candles in front of his
homies. Everybody grabs a fork and starts devouring the delicious
sugar loaf. Afterward, Noke has a bit of fun at Kelly’s expense and
smashes the half-eaten cake into his mug. This prompts Kelly to
look for revenge, and a brief food fight breaks out.
Meanwhile, Saliba makes his final fight preparations, which consist
mostly of visualization techniques. The Aussie describes himself as
an opportunist in the cage, meaning he will not enter the fight
with a set game plan but instead try to take advantage of whatever
openings his opponent presents.
Assistant coaches Adrian Pang
Martinez take the rest of Team Australia through some hard
training, beginning with live sparring and then transitioning into
intense cardio. Martinez and Noke both compliment the team on their
dedication and express optimism about their chances moving
Theodorou and Saliba are now in the cage, and the unbeaten Canadian
takes charge with a low kick and a stiff jab before bulling his man
into the fence. The men trade knees from the over-under clinch, and
the Australian deftly slips an elbow, sliding behind his foe to
grab a rear waist lock. Theodorou escapes the position, however,
and is now hunting for a single-leg takedown. After defending the
try, Saliba eats a knee to the face but returns fire with a nice
right hand. Theodorou finally scores the takedown he has been
searching for and lands in side control, but Saliba does well to
recover his vertical base. The Canadian lands a nice knee to the
ribs and an elbow to the temple before picking up the Aussie and
slamming him to the mat. Saliba stands again, but he is once more
planted on his back to end the first frame.
Saliba whiffs on a Superman punch to start the second stanza,
prompting Theodorou to clinch and deliver another slam. The
Canadian pounds away to the body and head and then passes the
Aussie’s right leg to land in side control. Saliba bucks onto his
stomach and tries to stand, but his stronger foe snaps him back
down with a front headlock. Saliba manages to pop up briefly, but
Cote’s fighter takes him right back down, this time mounting him.
Theodorou loses the position, however, and Saliba tries to dive on
an armbar from back control. The last-ditch attempt proves
fruitless, and Theodorou is declared the victor by unanimous
With Theodorou’s victory, Cote keeps control of the fight pick, and
Team Canada’s Chad
Laprise will face Team Australia’s Chris
Indich in a welterweight showdown next week.
"The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia" airs
Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
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