I touched upon this last week, but this current iteration of The Ultimate Fighter just isn’t very fun. From the darker, saturated look to the greater emphasis on the financial benefits of being a fighter, everything is so serious and so dour that following the show can be exhausting. Somehow, they need to find a balance between life and death stakes and giving the audience some time to breathe.
Meanwhile, over on TUF: Brazil 2, they brought in a pole dancer to help the guys work on strength and balance. A pole dancer. Why didn’t I review this show instead? Let’s carry on.
What better way for a French Canadian to celebrate than with a poutine? While that might have been a warm and familiar meal for the victorious Olivier Aubin-Mercier, apparently it could have been better:
This poutine was terrible by the way !! :)— Olivier Aubin (@MMAOAM) March 6, 2014
Jake Matthews is less enthused. It’s his first loss. For someone so young, that’s an eye opener. He had finished all of his professional fights in the second round. Here, on the biggest stage of his career, Aubin-Mercier was able to completely control him on the ground. It was a sobering reminder of how far Matthews is from being a finished product. As a fan, I find that exciting, but it can’t be easy for him to see the forest from the trees right now.
At nineteen, I also spent a lot of time under the bed covers when dealing with disappointment.
The Australians rally behind him, showing a surprisingly soft touch. Rather than tell him to get over it, they essentially allow him a grieving period to sort through his emotions. Richard Walsh wonders if Matthews’s loss is made worse by his father’s involvement in his career: His coach is his dad. So he feels like he’s probably let a big part of his family down whereas my dad doesn’t even know what a f**king jab is.
Two of the oldest guys in the house, Vik Grujic and Luke Harris had to sacrifice quality time with their loved ones to be in the house. Grujic has three little girls back home and he’d love the financial security that being a UFC fighter would provide them; Harris on the other hand just got married. So yes, he chose to be crammed in a house with fifteen other men instead of going on his honeymoon.
Looking to get his team over the top, Noke brings in the UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Well played, Australian. Upon meeting Matthews, even Jones can’t resist making a Justin Bieber joke. You know, Jones takes so much flak that you almost forget what an enormous star he is. Just look at the faces of these grown men when they see him walk into the gym:
THIS...IS...SPA...OH S**T JON JONES!!!
If you’re wondering what’s going on in that last shot, both Elias Theodorou and Grujic go by the nickname "Spartan" so this was Team Canada’s way of helping him claim some territory. Of course, he ended up looking like a complete ass in front of Bones, his favourite fighter. That was nice of Noke to bring Jones over anyway, even if it resulted in him getting molested.
Jones: This guy’s trying to hump me! He’s trying to hump me!
The rigors of the competition are starting to weigh on the remaining contestants, whether they’re still in the running or not. After an accident in training, Sheldon Westcott is now looking at a potential injury on top of his other maladies. He can’t practice and he might need surgery. On a lighter note, Brendan O’Reilly has a Nerf gun now. Why do they allow this?
Seriously, have they just started programming Nerf guns to automatically target people’s dicks?
We’re treated to more Jones, who apparently is not too busy that he can’t spend some time chilling at the house, getting to know Grujic better and asking questions like "How do you shoot a kangaroo?" He’s also nice enough to share the secret of his success: a scoop of honey twenty minutes before his fights. That’s all it takes, people.
"This is definitely going on my Instagram. You should check it out, Jon."
If you’re a fan of Tyler Manawaroa, then you’ll be happy to know that he’s back to getting some camera time...I just wish we didn’t have to see so much of him. He decides to sit naked in bed for some reason. If you think you’re getting a screenshot of that, you’re sorely mistaken.
Team Côté’s guest star this week is an esteemed MMA and movie star. Anyone who tuned in part-way and thought that was Cung Le, congratulations: You’re a raci...
Oh wait, that actually is Cung Le.
Somewhat awkward start for both men, who take on stances respectful of their opponent’s styles. Harris is making it obvious that he wants to grapple and Grujic is completely unafraid of Harris’s stand-up. Grujic lands a couple of big shots and Harris is dazed. An aggressive takedown gets Grujic in side control as soon as they hit the mat. A flurry of elbows slice Harris’s face to ribbons and that’s all she wrote. That’s what happens when you study with Bones!
Some honeymoon, huh?
The stoppage was so nasty looking that Aubin-Mercier openly questions whether he’d ever want his girlfriend, mother, or daughter to ever see something like that happen to him. Hearing that from him after coming off his own one-sided performance, you have to believe he’s genuinely shaken up. For whatever reason, Harris is intent on finding a mirror. I’ll chalk it up to shock and morbid curiosity.
As the first round comes to a close, the overall score is 5-3 in favour of Canada. In the welterweight division, the fighters advancing are Kajan Johnson, Chad Laprise and Olivier Aubin-Mercier for Team Canada, and Richard Walsh for Team Australia. In the middleweight division, the fighters advancing are Elias Theodorou and Sheldon Westcott for Team Canada, and Tyler Manawaroa and Vik Grujic for Team Australia.
That’s a more than respectable showing for the Aussies after a slow start. Grujic ends things on a high note for his team and you know what that means...
Next week: The semi-final match-ups! Here are my predictions:
Laprise v. Walsh
Aubin-Mercier v. Johnson
Harris posited that the UFC is looking for a Canada v. Australia final and I think this is the best way to get there. Either way, I think they’d be happy to have Aubin-Mercier make it through so they can continue the "Next GSP" buzz.
Theodorou v. Grujic
Westcott v. Manawaroa
If Westcott is injured and replaced by Nordine Taleb, I don’t see them booking a rematch with Manawaroa. In that case, Westcott should face Grujic and Theodorou should face Manawaroa. Then I’d have to root for both Manawaroa and Taleb to lose because I want to see some Spartan on Spartan action! Yeeeeeah...wait, that didn’t come out right.