TUF Nations – Canada vs. Australia Week 8 Notes: Bring on the Semifinals

March 5, 2014

TUF Nations LogoEpisode eight of The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia featured the final elimination round match-up between middleweights Luke Harris and Vik Grujic.

Jake Matthews Takes Last Week’s Loss Hard

Team Australia’s Jake Matthews made his way on to show with an undefeated 3-0 professional record. The 19-years-old Aussie retreated to his room in isolation following his elimination round-loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier.

“It is okay to be upset, angry and have a cry about it. He’s going to be stronger for it. In my opinion, there’s no issue in being emotional about fighting and competing. That’s what makes you good,” said Team Australia’s Dan Kelly.

“I felt a lot of pressure just to win because you’re on the biggest TV show there is for MMA. There’s the pressure of that, not wanting to lose on TV in front of however many people. You have friends and family watching,” said Matthews.

“The boys have gotten behind me and reinforced me that it’s not the end,” he said. “One way or anther I’ll be in the UFC when I’m older, just keep working hard.”

“For Jake, I think just take all of the positives out of the loss. It might be (expletive) at the time. And it might be crap while you’re here, but his chance will come. He’ll get another chance. I’m sure of it,” said Team Australia semifinalist Richard Walsch.

Jon Jones and Cung Le Guest Coach

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones traveled to Canada to assist teammate and Team Australia coach Kyle Noke.

“Jon Jones is a really good friend of mine, one of my training partners. He’s one of those people that when you train with him, he inspires you to be better. So hopefully he’s going to inspire these guys to fight harder and bring it for their next fights,” said Coach Noke.

“My goal is mainly just to like motivate the guys, light a little fire under their butts and just be a little inspiration,” said Jones. The champ showed the team some elbow techniques and spoke to them about motivation and priorities.

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le paid a visit to the UFC gym to help Team Canada work some striking techniques.

“The most important thing for those guys is they’re going to learn something today, something new from a guy like Cung Le who is doing so many things no one else is doing,” said Team Canada coach Patrick Cote.

The Fight: Luke Harris vs. Vik Grujic

Harris came out flat-footed and standing tall. Grujic circled on the outside and stepped in with a stiff jab. He landed a left hook that staggered the Canadian. Grujic slammed Harris to the canvas and landed in side control. From there, he delivered devastating elbows that opened up a gash over Harris’ eye. The next elbow rendered Harris unconscious.

“The fight itself I’m just unbelievably happy with. I don’t like to see people hurt, but being a fighter it’s that thing I do well, and it’s something that’s in my nature,” said Gruijic following the win. “I just feel so blessed. And to look down and seeing UFC on my gloves and to know that people that are watching me after having a victory like that in that fight, my emotions are so strong at the time it’s hard for me to center on anything in particular.”

“I know I can do better. I just got caught. It’s unfortunate I didn’t get to show my ability level, or my skill level. But that’s the way it goes. A fight’s a fight. It just wasn’t my night,” said a dejected Harris after the loss.

“You always feel like you can do more. You always feel like you let down your team or let down your coaches and everything,” he added. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen with my MMA career. Honestly, this was the most important fight of my career. Everything in the last seven years was working towards this. It’s very disappointing to take this loss at this time. This was mine to win, mine to lose. And it didn’t end up how I wanted it to end. It just clearly wasn’t my night. He won. That’s it.”

The semifinal match-ups will be announced during next week’s episode.

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