The teams get comfortable with one another at TUF house as they eat and discuss strategy. Canadian Nordine Taleb pulls his team aside and suggests that Australia is subtly gaining inside information.
Four-time BJJ World Champion Vitor Ribeiro guest coaches Team Canada, specifically helping Elias Theodorou train for this week’s fight against Zein Saliba. “Elias is looking good, man,” said Team Canada fighter Luke Harris. “The guy he’s going against, he’s more of a Jiu-Jitsu player. You don’t want a Jiu-Jitsu guy on your back. Especially a guy like this, a black belt. If he gets his back it could be trouble, but I don’t see that happening.”
Back at TUF house, the teams start playing the blame game as dishes pile up and neither side takes responsibility. Team Canada lays in the living room while Team Australia sits in the kitchen prodding them over how dirty the house is getting.
Saliba admits that he hasn’t analyzed Theodorou and doesn’t know what to expect. “My strategy for tomorrow is to put pressure on him early and see what he has to bring to the table. If I find that I’m stronger in the clinch then I’ll keep him there,” Saliba said. “I don’t make those decision until that night because I found from the way I fight, the best game plan is determining during the fight.”
Theodorou discusses his acting and modeling background, giving much credit to what he calls “the best hair in MMA.” Team Canada coach Patrick Cote tells Theodorou that he can’t get into a brawl with Saliba. He must depend on his technical skills. Cote claims that, skills wise, his team is better.
Assistant coaches Adrian Pang and Israel Martinez push Team Australia to their limit, dishing out some tough love. “We have to learn to train and overcome adversity, but I want you guys to suffer just a little bit and overcome it.” Martinez tells his team. The coaches believe that they are more prepared and carry a better work ethic than Team Canada.
With Yves Lavigne as referee, this week’s fight gets underway. Theodorou immediately pushes Saliba against the cage as the men exchange body shots. Theodorou’s relentless takedown attempts begin to wear Saliba down as he spends most of the round with his back to the cage. With less than a minute left, Theodorou grabs Saliba’s legs and slams him to the mat. Saliba gets up and Theodorou gains side control, slamming him again to end the round.
As they come of out their corners, Theodorou dodges Saliba’s flying elbow. He slams Saliba and gains half guard position, holding Saliba in this position for most of the round. The men briefly get to their feet before Theodorou presses Saliba back to the ground, leaving the Australian with little time for a comeback. In a last ditch effort, Saliba tries to lock in a rear naked choke that doesn’t hook in deep enough. Theodorou is declared the winner via unanimous decision.
“I had a couple of opportunities, I didn’t capitalize on them. You know, unfortunately I didn’t have the wrestling to take him down and deliver what I wanted. Yeah, I’m definitely a little bit disheartened but I’m ready to go again,” Saliba said after the loss.
Chad Laprise versus Chris Indich is selected as next week’s fight. Cote chose this matchup because Indich isn’t very mobile and has “no chance” of defeating Laprise.