Recap from episode four of The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia.
The episode opens in the aftermath of last week’s battle between Chad Laprise and Chris Indich. While Team Australia hangs out in the gym’s common room, Nordine Taleb walks into enemy territory. Chris tells notices Nordine and wants has a message for him and the rest of Team Canada. “Tell them I can take a punch.” Apparently in the run up to the fight he heard the Canadians saying that he didn’t have a chin. Nordine plays it off like he doesn’t know what Chris is talking about, but Chris wants him to know that the Australians can hear everything the Canadians are saying. Back at the house Chad defuses the situation with some cheesecake (works every time).
From there the focus shifts to this week’s bout between Tyler Manawaroa and Nordine Taleb. Only 19 years old, the young Aussie seems to have made quite an impression on his teammates. Vik Grujic calls him a “crazy man,” and “our crazy son of a bitch.” Apparently in Australia these are terms of endearment. Coach Noke is familiar with Tyler since they both come from Brisbane. When asked to sum up his young fighter, Noke simply smiles and says, “Tyler loves to fight.” As for Tyler himself, he’s excited to take on Team Canada’s top guy. Despite all of the hype around Nordine, Tyler dismisses his abilities remarking, “He’s got muscles, but that’s about it.” In addition to pride and revenge motivations, Tyler has philanthropic goals. As he puts it, “People like watching me fight. I like making people happy. I like fighting. Looks like it all worked out.”
After a break, we learn more about Nordine Taleb. Patrick Cote praises his openness to learning, but adds, “Nordine has a short fuse.” Teammates confirm this and Cote adds that we shouldn’t blink during the fight because Nordine is going to hurt Tyler badly. An avid wine lover, Nordine is a bit annoyed with the discomfort of being away from home, but doesn’t expect to have many problems during the fight. He accuses Tyler of padding his 10-0 record with a bunch of easy fights and that he’s never fought anyone on his level before. Tyler tests Nordine’s patience at weigh-ins by trying to get in his face, but there’s not real confrontation other than a bit of shoving. The time for talking is done and we quickly move to fight time.
Nordine opens the round with an inside low kick. He then attacks with a right leg low kick and another. Tyler throws a quick flurry and tries to tie up but is brushed aside. Nordine throws another low kick, but this time Tyler times it and lands a right hand. Tyler swings a big hook and misses. Nordine clinches him and drives hard knees to the body. They break and Nordine goes back to attacking Tyler’s legs. Tyler stings Nordine with a stiff jab and the Canadian grabs a clinch to recover. Tyler goes for a takedown, but Nordine defends and now they’re jockeying for position against the fence. They reverse positions a few times and exchange knees, but no one person appears to be getting the advantage. As Tyler attempts a takedown, Nordine defends, reverses position and attacks with knees. With less than two minutes left, they break the clinch and return to the center of the Octagon. Tyler misses another big hook and Nordine counters with a couple knees and a big body shot. Tyler kicks and Nordine answers with a kick of his own. Tyler is holding his hands low, but Nordine isn’t taking advantage of it. The two exchange a few more strikes as time expires.
Tyler misses a left hand to start the round, but follows up with a hook that connects. He leaps in with an uppercut that lands, too. Nordine tries to answer back with a knee, but it’s a low blow. Referee Yves Lavigne tells Tyler that he has five minutes to recover, but the Aussie doesn’t want to wait. They restart quickly and Nordine dodges Tyler’s haymakers deftly. Undeterred, Tyler continues to attack with his right hand and Nordine answers with jabs. A cut starts to develop over Nordine’s right eye. Halfway through the round, one of Tyler’s punches knock Nordine to the ground. The Canadian immediately rises to his feet, and nails Tyler with some knees. Tyler escapes, but he soon eats a few jabs for his trouble. Nordine pushes Tyler against the fence and continues to hammer him with Muay Thai knees to the body. They break, but Nordine’s jab keeps landing and Tyler visibly slows down. Nordine clinches up again, but this time Tyler finds a home for the spinning elbow he’s been setting up. The round ends and both corners wait for the judges’ decision. We’re heading to sudden victory!
Tyler sets the pace with a strong jab. Both fighters then circle for a little bit trying to goad the other into action. Nordine tries to clinch up, but Tyler answers with an uppercut. Learning his mistake from earlier rounds, Tyler maintains proper footwork and avoids getting cornered against the fence. The two exchange hooks and Tyler follows up with a couple jabs. Tyler then knees and pushes off. The Australian is clearly tired, but Nordine doesn’t appear to be able to push the pace either. Nordine finally tracks down Tyler and lands two hard knees to the body. Tyler elbows over the top and breaks the tie up. In the last few minutes, Nordine finally takes control and pressures Tyler. He scores the first takedown of the match with 60 seconds left and starts working from half guard. He can’t get any offense going, but Tyler looks about stuck. Then out of nowhere, Tyler explodes in the last 20 seconds and rolls Nordine over. He starts the ground and pound immediately and even goes for a rear naked choke attempt as the round ends.
The judges’ scorecards come back and Team Australia picks up its first win of the season. Kyle Noke is happy to finally get a victory and credits Tyler’s pressure for making the difference. Coach Cote is disappointed, but lets us know that Nordine broke his foot in the first round. We move to the fight announcement and it will be in the welterweight division. Team Australia’s Richard Walsh will be taking on Team Canada’s Matt Desroches. Both coaches expect this to be a standup fight and (surprise) think their fighter is much better striker than the other.
We close out with a sneak preview of next week’s episode. Will Team Canada bounce back into the win column? Do the Australians keep the momentum going? What happens when a Canadian and an Australian walk into a bar? Find out this and more next week on The Ultimate Fighter!