Sport MMA Vik Grujic’s TUF: Nations blog, episode 5

Vik Grujic’s TUF: Nations blog, episode 5

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Australian mixed martial artist Vik Grujic    is one of the stars of The Ultimate Fighter: Nations, Australia vs Canada, currently airing on FX. Throughout the series, Vik will present to The New Daily readers an exclusive blog detailing his thoughts and experiences, post TUF Nations. Log on to The New Daily every Friday for Vik’s weekly blog.

• Vik’s episode 1 blog
• Vik’s episode 2 blog
• Vik’s episode 3 blog
• Vik’s episode 4 blog

As a team, it felt so good being back in the race for TUF: Nations. Following Tyler Manawaroa’s three-round decision victory over Nordine Taleb, we had a renewed confidence leading into Richy Walsh’s fight. Things were looking a lot more positive for us now.

As you can imagine, the mood in the house had changed … dramatically! With Nordine losing to Tyler, the Canadians must have been feeling like they had been completely underestimating us and that we were now going to bring the fight to them.

Practical jokes, psychological warfare and, of course, snowball fights were daily occurrences in the house. I normally instigated the snowball fights, especially after training. It was a good mental release from the daily grind. The night when Team Canada’s Elias Theodorou decided to ambush us was a great snowball war. At first we were all going in for the kill, and we had him outnumbered. Elias was under the impression he was going to receive some back-up from his comrades … who instead merely laughed at him from behind the glass.

• Support one of Australian MMA’s best … sponsor Vik Grujic! The Melbourne-based middleweight is currently looking for sponsors. Email Vik here, send him a message on Twitter or visit his Facebook page

Soon enough, we all played together like children, accepting the new kid on the playground. We never got to see the snowman that Elias and I had built in front of the entrance to the house. Hopefully next episode we will … oh wait, Elias’ ‘decoration’ — a shaker cup and two limes to represent … well, you can guess! … means we probably won’t get to see him, unfortunately!

Brendan O'Reilly proudly shouts into his water bottle horn. Zein Saliba (right) is not impressed.
Brendan O’Reilly proudly shouts into his water bottle horn. Zein Saliba (right) is not impressed.

It wasn’t until I viewed this episode that I remembered Brendan making his worthless horn thingy … I recall being in a deep sleep only to be awoken to the sound of this loud, awful noise. Bear in mind the walls are paper thin, so Brendan may as well have been sawing that empty, hard plastic water bottle next to my head. I am in no way a morning person. I felt a certain unease getting out of bed only to find out that Brendan had been hacking into this water bottle like a Badger building his den. I think we all felt the same way. No one had the heart to tell him his idea was stupid. Thanks for waking us up buddy…

Walshy was pretty lean most of the time and weigh-ins for him were not an issue. He could make weight with ease, he’s a complete pro.

Matthew Desroches was very quiet to begin with. We never got to see him speak all that much, or even see a smile. We never knew what was happening behind that glare. Nerves? Game face?

Either way, the fight was upon us yet again. Richy looked great in the warm up. His striking was sharp, he was in good shape. Even though he was carrying a knee injury, you would have never have known it was there at all.

We took our places and waited for the fighters to come out. Both men entered the preparation point and were inspected and had the Vaseline applied before entering the Octagon for their UFC debuts.

Team Canada's Matthew Desroches (left) and Team Australia's 'Filthy' Rich Walsh face off in their welterweight clash.
Team Canada’s Matthew Desroches (left) and Team Australia’s ‘Filthy’ Rich Walsh face off in their welterweight clash.

Round one, and both men started hard, with lots of exchanges in the stand up. Richy pushed the action in the clinch and tried for takedowns, but with no success. There wasn’t much between both fighters, with maybe Richy looking slightly ahead on the scorecards. Everything was looking even coming to the end of the round until Walsh landed a near KO blow that buckled Mathew’s legs. Richy tried to pour on the steam and finish, but Matthew recovered quickly and time ran out.

Second round saw both fighters swinging yet again. This time Richy was clearly getting the upper hand in the exchanges, even dropping Matthew with a stiff jab. Richy pressured Matthew up against the cage, pushing for takedowns time and time again, but Desroches’ defensive wrestling was too strong. The Canadian was getting desperate, swinging away with the right hand. At this point, it was looking like the fight was going to a decision and that it was going to go our way. Sure enough the result was in, with Richard Walsh, aka Filthy Rich, being declared the winner.

The joy … the feeling of shutting up the Canadians and all their cockiness … was an amazing sensation. Knowing we were back at 3-2 in the series and that we were not to be counted out was great. We were doing this for us as a team foremost, and our morale was peaking. Seeing the Canadians humbled and finally showing respect was its own reward!

The next fight pick we had was in our court again. At this point I had no say in whether or not I got to fight next or not. Dan Kelly had been jumping up and down and demanding the next pick. The coaches wanted nothing more than to get him in next too. I was feeling the pressure of waiting and not knowing just like everyone else and wanted nothing more than to get my chance next.

Victorious ... Team Australia welterweight Richy Walsh (right).
Victorious … Team Australia welterweight Richy Walsh (right).

I felt no matter who I was fighting at this point it was going to spell trouble for them in a very bad way. I was pent up and didn’t want to wait any longer.

Yet, I wasn’t going to argue. I am a very patient person after all and I knew my time was near!

So as the coaches discussed the fight picks I knew who was being picked for Dan, meaning I now knew who I was to face for my first fight.

As we lined up, Team Australia coach Kyle Noke called Dan onto the mat and announced he was to fight Sheldon Westcott. Dan has the silliest looking staredown in the history of MMA. It is more of a smug grin than anything else really! Fighters here in Australia that have seen it would all agree, haha. It looked like Sheldon would agree too, because he could hardly keep a straight face.

Now that the final selection was made the final matchups looked like this.

• Daniel Kelly (Team Australia) vs Sheldon Westcott (Team Canada)
• Jake Matthews (Team Australia) vs Olivier Aubin Mercier (Team Canada)
• Vik Grujic (Team Australia) vs Luke Harris (Team Canada)

We were well and truly into the meat of the competition now, and seeing Team Australia rise from the ashes. All eyes on the team turned to Dan Kelly to work his magic and show what makes this man such a tough S.O.B.

Let’s go Grizzly!

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