Kajan Johnson seriously injured his jaw in week’s semifinal round loss to Chad Laprise. Both teams express concerns on the way home and acknowledge that Johnson didn’t get the support he deserved.
Johnson arrives at TUF house the following day and says he requires surgery for his broken jaw. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you,” Johnson tells Laprise. “If you would have tried less, I would have been insulted. Don’t worry about it.”
Tyler Manawaroa prepares for this week’s semifinal match against Elias Theodorou and shows off his tattoos, including a self-inscribed piece on his leg that says “TAT.” Team Australia’s Richard Walsh watches Manawaroa cook up fries and tater tots on the eve of his fight, but downplays the unhealthy meal by saying that Manawaroa fights well regardless. “For Elias, he’s got a big, big jaw and that’s a target for Tyler,” Walsh said.
Former UFC middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante arrives a Team Canada’s training session to help Theodorou prepare for his match. “To have his voice and his guidance and his expertise behind me is an amazing experience. Of course, I’m going to use and listen to everything he gave me,” Theodorou said.
Theodorou playfully wears a Spartan helmet to the weight-ins, which doesn’t sit well with Manawaroa. Team Australia coach Kyle Noke says that there’s irony in wearing the helmet because Spartan leader Leonidas dies in the movie 300.
The first round begins with Theodorou landing a head kick. He pushed Manawaroa to the fence where they battle for position, delivering short knees to each other’s abdomens. Theodorou slams Manawaroa to the mat, but he quickly recovers. Manawaroa can’t shake the Canadian, who takes his back. Manawaroa trips Theodorou and pounces. He goes for a rear-naked choke but Theodorou stands to a vertical position and falls back. They again clinch against the cage as Theodorou gets yet another takedown. The fighters hit the ground and Theodorou unleashes on Manawaroa as the round ends.
Manawaroa nearly lands a head kick as the second round begins. Theodorou slams Manawaroa, but he immediately recovers. The fighters meet in the center of the ring where Theodorou advances with multiple leg kick attempts. In a clinch against the fence, Manawaroa briefly takes Theodorou down. The Canadian counters with a takedown of his own and ends the round on top of Manawaroa.
Theodorou continues to utilize high and low leg kicks in beginning the final round. He grabs Manawaroa’s right leg and forces a takedown. The Australian is in guard position, taking the brunt of Theodorou’s shots to the head and body. An exhausted Manawaroa spends a majority of the round trying to escape the clinch, which he finally does with less than a minute left. He tries for a guillotine choke but Theodorou counters and has Manawaroa in a half guard position.
Theodorou wins by unanimous decision. “A lot of fighters lose when they don’t stick to the game plan. The game plan is everything,” Theodorou said. “I knew that I was going to be the better and I’m just really good at staying with what makes me win fights.”
Next week, Richard Walsh and Olivier Aubin-Mercier face off in a welterweight battle.
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