‘TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia’ Recap: Episode 7

By Mike Whitman Feb 26, 2014



This week’s episode kicks off with Aussie Vik Grujic fuming in a confessional, angry over Team Canada’s reaction to Sheldon Westcott’s dominant win over Daniel Kelly last week.

Team Australia’s Brendan O’Reilly confronts Kajan Johnson after hearing that Johnson screamed, “He’s done!” after Kelly was submitted. Johnson explains that he had no idea that Kelly had injured his knee in the fight, but Grujic reinforces that Team Australia is “pissed” that Johnson might have taken a verbal cheap shot at a teammate while he was down.

Johnson appears legitimately sorry that Team Australia believes he was expressing joy that Kelly’s career might be over. “Ragin’” says that such a sentiment is the last thing he would ever wish on a fellow competitor, especially since the Canadian was staring at his own possible retirement not so long ago due to an orbital bone surgery.

Kelly returns home after his visit to the hospital, but he will not know the full status of his knee until tomorrow. Meanwhile, Australian young gun Jake Matthews begins training for his fight with Canadian prospect Olivier Aubin-Mercier. Three-fight pro Matthews says he started training in MMA as a means to stay fit during football offseason and never looked back.

Later, the Quebec commission’s doctor informs Kelly that he has torn his meniscus. The four-time Olympian must avoid any type of lower body training for four to six weeks prior to another exam. Kelly is disappointed and emotional, but he vows to stay positive for his teammates.

Some members of Team Canada admit that the squad’s vibe has changed as more of them have won their quarterfinal matches. Like it or not, teammates will soon be forced to fight. All the members of Team Canada agree that Aubin-Mercier is a “horse” and might be the toughest fight in the house. Aubin-Mercier explains that watching Georges St. Pierre inspired him to to take up MMA, and Johnson believes that the prospect could fill the void left by the longtime welterweight king.

That night, the men are given a copy of Forza Motorsport 5 for Xbox One. The fighter who records the fastest lap time will earn a ride in an actual Ferrari the next day. Chris Indich, who has grown a stylish mustache, wins the competition.

Both Aubin-Mercier and Matthews step on the scale at 169 pounds. In a display of true black belt technique, coach Patrick Cote hands his charge a headshot of Justin Bieber, which the Canadian places over his face to the amusement of all. Matthews calls out “Biebs” in a confessional, challenging the blue belt to a jiu-jitsu match.

Nordine Taleb has served as a mentor for Aubin-Mercier for some time, and the prospect apparently took Taleb’s quarterfinal loss pretty hard. Aubin-Mercier vows to persevere and win the fight for his friend, as well as for his girlfriend and infant daughter.

The undefeated prospects touch gloves to begin their bout, and Matthews backs up the Quebecer with some right hands and front kicks that are all blocked. The Aussie continues to move forward and rips a round kick into Aubin-Mercier’s ribs, but the Canadian retaliates with a left of his own and bulls Matthews into the fence. The men jockey for position, and Australian coach Kyle Noke screams for his fighter to disengage, a request that Matthews obliges. Aubin-Mercier cracks his orthodox opponent with a left kick to the body and quickly closes the gap to hit an inside trip, stacking his man against the fence and working with ground-and-pound from Matthews’ open guard. Matthews works back to his feet in the last 20 seconds of the round and tries a flying triangle to no avail just before the frame expires.

Matthews attacks early and often to start round two but sees a takedown attempt reversed by an Aubin-Mercier kimura, which the Canadian uses to place Matthews on his back. Cote’s man roughs up his opponent with punches and elbows before passing guard and taking his foe’s back, locking up a body triangle and searching for a rear-naked choke. Matthews gamely defends the submission for roughly four minutes, but he has clearly lost this round and most likely the fight.

Indeed, the cageside judges award Aubin-Mercier a unanimous decision victory, meaning that Team Canada now owns a 5-2 lead over the Australians. Coach Cote retains control of the fight pick, and he selects Luke Harris to face Team Australia’s Vik Grujic in the season’s last quarterfinal pairing.

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