Following Olivier Aubin-Mercier’s victory over Jake Matthews last week, Team Canada pigs out at TUF house while Team Australia consoles their teammate.
“At 19-years-old how many other people do you know that have made it as far as you have,” Australian middleweight Vic Grujic asks Matthews. “You know those guys that lose their first fight, a lot of those guys smash it and make it big in the UFC. So, I’m saying you just gotta pick yourself up and learn from your loss.” Grujic fights Luke Harris in the final preliminary match of the tournament.
The following day, Team Australia trains at TUF gym when a hooded individual walks through the room’s double door. It’s none other than UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. “My goal is mainly just to motivate the guys and light a little fire under their butts and just be a little inspiration,” Jones says.
Jones teaches the Australians how to move out of the clinch and land elbows to the head; a technique Grujic says will help him against Harris. Jones says that dedication is the only way to succeed in MMA. “I would give it all I have because, I’ll tell you what, being in the UFC is awesome. It’s really awesome. It’ll changes your life, your family’s life, your future,” Jones said. The youngest champion in UFC history confesses that his application for The Ultimate Fighter was rejected.
Harris says that, because of his age, he has to be more efficient with his training. The 36-year-old Canadian says that he’s “out of his element” fighting in front of big crowds, despite his 10-2 record. “Luke is always calm and composed,” Team Canada coach Patrick Cote said. “If you go inside he’s going to throw you, you’re gonna fly for sure.”
Jones visits TUF house and chows down with the housemates. He reveals that his pre-fight breakfast consists of eggs, fruit, and oatmeal. One hour before the fight he snacks on a protein bar and 20 minutes before the fight he’ll swallow a scoop of honey because it’s a long-lasting, slow-burning source of energy.
Team Australia coach Kyle Noke goes over offensive techniques when pushing an opponent against the fence. He focuses on Grujic, as he is the team’s last chance to get a fighter into the next round. “His biggest weakness is his wrestling, “Noke said. “He’s got really good hands and feet and moves really well. His Jiu Jitsu is really good as well. I think the only thing that’s missing is the ‘in between’ things, his wrestling.”
Team Canada gets their own special guest as UFC middleweight Cung Le gives them hands-on training. Le says that the Canadians are more well-rounded that their opponents because they pick up lessons faster. “But, sometimes it’s not how good they are, it’s how much you want it. How much heart they have,” Le added.
Sheldon Westcott, who wears a neck brace after his most recent hospital visit, fears he may never fight again. Dr. Norman Lavoie visits him in the Team Canada locker room and tells the fighter that his right side is weaker than his left side. Whether Westcott fights in the semifinal depends on his next meeting with Dr. Lavoie.
On fight day, Grujic says that he is looking at Harris as an obstacle more than an opponent. He says the toughest battle a fighter faces is in his own mind.
The fight begins with both fighters tentatively circling the Octagon. Grujic lands a left jab and stumbles. He quickly recovers, gets Harris in a clinch and takes him down. From half guard position, Grujic unloads vicious elbows to Harris’ face and referee Yves Lavigne immediately calls the fight.
Grujic wins by TKO and becomes Australia’s third fighter to advance. “To look down and see ‘UFC’ written on my gloves and to know people are watching me after having a victory like that, that fight, my emotions are so strong at the moment it’s hard for me to center on anything in particular,” Grujic said.
On next week’s episode, Dana White will teleconference with each advancing fighter to get their opinion on potential semifinal matches.
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