TUF Nations Episode 13 Preview: Australia’s last hope
It’s the final week of The Ultimate Fighter Nations and the competitors in the house will be treated to a special guest stopping by before the stir crazy antics of 16 competitors being trapped together for six weeks finally starts to unravel.
Before the final middleweight bout unfolds between Canadian Sheldon Westcott and Australian middleweight Vik Grujic, former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre makes a special appearance to spend some time with the cast members.
St-Pierre is by far the most well known and successful mixed martial artist to ever come from Canada, and he is a legend and icon inside the Octagon. The knowledge he can impart to the young fighters on the show is limitless, but his appearance on the next episode of TUF Nations should also give some insight into the psyche and mindset of one of the greatest champions to ever grace the UFC.
The fighters are all in awe of St-Pierre, especially welterweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier who has been compared to GSP all season long, and has spoken loudly all year long about how he idolizes and does everything in his power to emulate the former welterweight king.
From St-Pierre’s appearance as a welcome guest, the cooped up fighters start to unwind in the final days of the house before they finally get sent home to their friends and families when the show finishes filming. Like many past seasons before them, the Canadians and Australians aren’t above a little stupid behavior to let loose before they finally escape the cold winter theyâve been trapped in for nearly two months.
Food fights will happen and the fighters will even get an additional visitor who also happens to be a Canadian legend.
Then it’s time for the final fight to unfold in the house as underdog and often injured fighter Sheldon Westcott looks to make it a Canadian clean sweep in the second round of the tournament when he faces off against Australian tough man Vik Grujic.
Westcott wasn’t even supposed to get this far in the competition after leg and neck troubles hampered him all season long. There were questions surrounding his ability to overcome the injuries and even remain in the tournament, much less make it to the semifinals with a chance to eliminate Australia’s last remaining fighter before getting some much needed time off to rest, recover and prepare to meet his teammate Elias Theodorou in the finals on April 16.
Before coming on to the show, Westcott was riding an eight fight win streak with a mix of finishes between submissions and knockouts to his credit. As a former welterweight, Westcott will probably return to his more natural 170-pounds after the show is finished, but he’s not giving up much size to the short, compact Grujic in this fight. He may be giving up some power, however, as the Australian is as strong as they come. Grujic muscled Luke Harris around the Octagon in his first fight in the house, tossing the Judo expert to the ground and bludgeoning him with elbows.
If not for Chad Laprise’s jaw crushing finish of Kajan Johnson a few weeks back, Grujic would assuredly be a lock for the best knockout of the season. Grujic also has to know that this is Australia’s last chance to be represented in the finals, and given his first performance on the show, he’s also their best hope.
Grujic has to be considered the favorite heading into the final bout of the season, but at the same time Westcott did extremely well the last time he wasn’t favored to do well and the pressure is off his shoulders in this fight with Australia’s dreams of putting at least one competitor into the finals all resting on the middleweight’s shoulders.
It will be an intriguing battle of wills between Westcott and Grujic and then from there the finals will be set ahead of the TUF Nations card on April 16 in Quebec City, Quebec. Chad Laprise will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier in an all-Canadian affair while Elias Theodorou, the early favorite to take home the title in the middleweight division, faces off against either Vik Grujic or Sheldon Westcott.
Also after a season of competition between Canada and Australia, coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke will finally go to battle in the co-main event on the card while former Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping takes on Tim Kennedy in the five round headline bout for the evening.