Team Canada middleweight Luke Harris begins the show by stating that the mood has changed in TUF house. This is apparent as Tyler Manawaroa, who earned Team Australia their first victory last week, and his team playfully throwing snowballs at each other.
Manawaroa, who the UFC said will not be offered a contract due to a racially offensive image posted to his Instagram account, then challenges Nordine Taleb to a drinking competition as a way of blowing off steam.
The next day, Team Canada coach Patrick Cote huddles his team together and asserts that every time they step in the Octagon, it’s a 50-50 chance they will come out the winner. “I hate losing. I hate losing but I can’t show it. My job is to support them and, win or lose, I’m gonna be there anyway,” Cote said in an interview away from the team.
Matthew Desroches gets one-on-one instruction from Cote in preparation for this week’s match with Australia’s Richard Walsh. “I always wanted, as a kid, to be king of the jungle,” Desroches said. “I found that, probably, a lot of that drive going through my body at a young age was probably from a lot of that anger I held in from, you know what I mean, being a black kid in a white community.” Cote tells the young fighter that his speed and footwork will be key in beating Walsh.
At Team Australia’s training session, Walsh says that this week’s match is one of experience versus youth. “I think experience means a lot. For me to be able to know if the fight gets in a situation where I feel I’m in deep, I can keep going,” Walsh said. The 24-year-old fighter says being in the UFC would compensate for skipping college.
Hampered by last week’s foot injury, Taleb hops around TUF gym shouting out advice. “I see Nordine as kind of our team captain, regardless of whether or not he won the fight he still fills that role,” Team Canada welterweight Kajan Johnson said. “He’s kind of like the fifth coach, but the fifth coach that’s always there. Not just there at training. He’s always there watching.”
On fight day, Desroches says that he is a slow starter, compared to Walsh who comes out swinging. Meanwhile, Walsh says that his key to victory is in waiting Desroches out. He plans to see what the Canadian’s initial game plan is before striking.
Desroches opens the fight with a front kick that is immediately caught. The two grapple against the cage, constantly changing positions, as Walsh lands knees to Desroches’ body. Desroches gets free and the fighters exchange jabs while they circle the Octagon. As Desroches throws an elbow at Walsh’s head, the Australian goes for a takedown that he can’t complete. With less than ten seconds left in the round, Walsh connects with an overhand right that leaves Desroches visibly shaken.
Walsh lunges for a takedown that Desroches defends well to begin the round. Pressed against the fence, Walsh’s takedown attempts are continually stopped. The two break free and stand and trade in the middle of the ring. Walsh throws a stiff left jab and briefly knocks Desroches down. The Canadian’s overhand and uppercuts are stanchly defended as Walsh pushes him toward the cage and lands his first takedown. Desroches goes all out in the final 30 seconds, throwing everything in his arsenal at Walsh. The Australian, however, knows he is ahead and holds position against the fence as the round ends.
Walsh unanimously defeats Desroches via unanimous decision and gives Team Australia their second consecutive victory. With Team Canada ahead 3-2 in the season series, coach Kyle Noke declares that next week’s match will be between Australian Daniel Kelly and Canadian Sheldon Westcott.
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