Following Tyler Manawaroa’s quarterfinal victory over Canadian Nordine Taleb last week, tonight’s episode will see Team Australia’s Richard Walsh collide with Matt DesRoches at welterweight.
Manawaroa’s recent victory represents the first time that Patrick Cote’s squad has experienced defeat after beginning the competition with three straight wins. While the Canadians are down in the dumps, the Aussies decide to have a snowball fight -- a war which Team Canada’s Elias Theodorou joins and quickly ends with a vicious onslaught due to his home field advantage.
Back in the house, Taleb reveals to his cast mates that his right foot was fractured in his defeat. The Canadian grabs Manawaroa for a celebratory drink, pouring him a shot of cognac. Predictably, the 19-year-old Aussie all but gags on the liquor, which causes Kajan Johnson to nearly fall out of his chair laughing. Green apple vodka this isn’t, son.
Back at the gym, Cote gives his squad a pep talk, encouraging them to train in the weakest aspects of their games so that they face adversity before stepping into the cage. DesRoches confesses that much of his drive and motivation as a young man came as the result of growing up black in a mostly white community. Cote emphasizes movement and speed with his pupil, instructing him to stay in the center of the cage and use angles to dictate the fight.
Meanwhile, Israel Martinez takes Kyle Noke’s team through a hard workout, looking to build momentum off of Manawaroa’s victory. Walsh says he was inspired to become a mixed martial artist after watching the UFC’s first two “Ultimate Knockouts” compilations when he was 15.
Walsh and DesRoches step on the scale, and both fighters check in at an even 170 pounds. In a confessional, Johnson admits that while he is rooting for his teammate, he could definitely see Walsh grinding out a decision if he is able to take DesRoches down.
Team Australia’s Daniel Kelly is champing at the bit for his chance to fight. The four-time Olympic judoda seems to always be dealing with some type of nagging injury due to the intensity of his training and his long history on the mat, but he is nevertheless resolved to continue pushing himself.
On the other side, Taleb has assumed the role of an extra coach for Team Canada, hopping around on one foot and imparting his knowledge on some of the younger fighters. One of those prospects, Sheldon Westcott, pops his right knee in training after Theodorou accidentally falls on it during grappling practice.
While Team Australia’s Brendan O’Reilly fashions a megaphone out of a large water bottle, both Walsh and DesRoches make their final fight preparations before stepping into the Octagon.
DesRoches leads with a front kick upstairs, but Walsh walks through it and clinches with the Canadian. The men fight for underhooks and trade knees against the cage. Midway through the frame, the welterweights separate and start slinging punches. DesRoches tries to get off first, but “Filthy Rich” cracks him with a beautiful right hand counter. The Canadian responds with a solid elbow, and Walsh fails on a takedown attempt. The Aussie snaps off a pair of nice jabs but eats a front kick to the face on the exit. DesRoches’ mouthpiece pops out, but he jumps right back into the fray, absorbing a sharp right cross that knocks him off balance just before the round ends.
DesRoches pops his opponent with a short cross to start round two. Walsh responds with three more failed takedown tries and then drives a knee into the Canadian’s face. The men break away from the cage, and Walsh floors his foe with a stiff jab. However, DesRoches quickly scrambles back to his feet. The Aussie is really finding his range with that left, and he pumps a few more stinging shots into DesRoches’ mug. Walsh finally manages to dump DesRoches with a double-leg takedown and grabs back control as the Canadian works to his feet. DesRoches pivots back into the clinch, and the referee breaks them. Both men connect with multiple clean shots during the bout’s final 30 seconds.
Walsh is announced the winner via unanimous decision, meaning that the score is now 3-2 in favor of Team Canada. Noke once again has control of the fight pick, and he selects Kelly to take on Team Canada’s Westcott, who must now compete on an injured knee.
"The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.