Tensions Between the Teams
Following last week’s win by Team Canada’s Sheldon Westcott over Team Australia’s Dan Kelly, the Australian fighters were offended and angered by the Canadian’s celebrations and comments made by Kajan Johnson.
Team Canada erupted in celebration as Westcott finished Kelly early in the opening round. Johnson jumped up on the cage yelling, “he’s done. He’s done.” Team Australia’s Vik Grujic was angered and let it be known when the fighters returned to the fighter house.
“In the ride home in the van, I was so angry,” said Gurjic. “I would have literally put my hand through a wall. Now I’m still very angry about it all.”
“It’s the one thing I will not tolerate is anyone disrespecting my boys,” he added.
Johnson denied making the comments, but the video replay showed he did. Brendan O’Reilly also confronted Johnson.
“Cowboy started of course, Brendan, because he’s kind of confrontational. He likes that type of stuff, and I kind of expected something like that from him. But Vik was also really not happy with it,” said Johnson. “They think that I said, he’s done, referring to Dan’s career because he’s aging.”
“Kajan is loud. He messes around. He’s a center of attention type of guy. If you’re going to disrespect one of us, you’re going to (expletive) know about it,” said Gurjic.
Kelly injured his knee in the loss and was put in a knee brace for four to six weeks.
The Fight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Jake Mathews
Matthews was the aggressor in the early going, but Aubin-Mercier quickly found his timing and range. The Canadian got the fight to the ground at the midway mark and chipped away at the downed Matthews with punches and elbows for the remainder of the round.
Matthews came out aggressive in the second frame, pressing forward. He worked to get the fight to the ground, but Aubin-Mercier used a kimura to gain top position. He landed punches and elbows. Matthews gave up his back and Aubin-Mercier applied a body lock to control Matthew’s position. The Canadian worked for a rear naked choke but was unable to secure it. Matthews couldn’t get out of the bad position and Aubin-Mercier did enough to win by unanimous decision.
“I’m a little bit said that I didn’t finish my fight. I would have liked to have won the $5,000,” said Aubin-Mercier following the win. ”I got myself some experience especially on the feet. I never get hit standing up, so I was trying to feel what it was like to get hit and block a shot. Jake was explosive. He surprised me.”
“Everyone says you’ll learn something from this fight. I learned you have to work hard every single training. But in terms of techniques I didn’t learn anything because I knew it all. I just didn’t apply it in the fight,” said Matthews. ”I did these stupid things that I have never done before in a fight. I don’t know if it was the nerves that got to me. The whole thing felt surreal. I’m not sure.”
Team Canada retained matchmaking control, but the next fight was set by default. The final elimination round middleweight bout will be Team Canada’s Luke Harris vs. Vik Grujic.