Note: All quotes and material were obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report through a one-on-one between Luke Harris and Bleacher Report's Riley Kontek.
Our team was on a high after Kajan Johnson's win. As a whole, we’re really coming together as a team. Everyone is feeling a lot more comfortable with each other, and there's some concern that some of the guys are getting a bit too at ease with the other team as well.
It’s easy to forget that this is a competition, and some of the guys on the other team are very good at extracting information, including Richard Walsh, who was always asking lots of questions. He’s a great guy and could be a member of the CIA with his tactics.
On the other hand, some of our guys were all too eager to share their fight history. Nordine Taleb got wind of this and called a meeting. At the time it seemed kind of funny, but he was right in that the Aussies were probing for information.
Personally, I like all the Aussies, but I am trying to distance myself. For now, it’s all about Team Canada!
Our special guest at the gym this week is Vitor "Shaolin" Ribiero. If you don’t know who Vitor is, he’s a multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion with a record of 20-5 in MMA. This is the type of guy that I like to learn from, and it was truly an honor having him instructing us.
He has amazing attention to detail. It never ceases to amaze me how much there is to BJJ. Even as a black belt, I learn every day. It’s a very complex art and learning is never over. After the technical portion, we rolled, and let me tell you, Vitor is a beast on the mat.
As a team, we were having group dinners with mainly Kajan, Nordine and myself cooking. Chad Laprise, Elias Theodorou and Olivier Aubin-Mercier were mostly on salad and dish duty. It’s awesome that the team was bonding the way it was. We're all here to win, but it's comforting to know that I’ll be leaving this place with some new friends.
Training was going well and I woke up early on weigh-in day to help Elias cut weight. The cut went very well. Some people get really quiet when cutting weight, but somehow Elias is the exact opposite. It was pretty funny.
Weigh-ins were also amusing with Elias being his usual comical self. Everyone burst out laughing when Elias told Zein Saliba that he needed to do more squats as he stepped onto the scale in his briefs. The staredown was equally amusing. Sometimes guys don’t understand that winning a staredown doesn’t win you the fight. I liked Elias’ attitude of just having fun with it, although I’m pretty sure Zein and the Aussies were a bit insulted and took the joking around as weakness.
That evening, our coaches visited the house with coach Patrick Cote’s nutritionist, JF. It was very interesting talking to him about nutrition. I know that he knows what he’s talking about.
Cote did two weeks of his UFC 158 camp for Bobby Voelker at my gym, the Hayabusa Training Centre. It was his first time fighting at 170 pounds, and he showed up shredded with energy for days. I remember one day, he did 14 three-minute sparring rounds and still had gas at the end. He attributed this much to his nutrition.
My normal walk-around weight is around 215-220 pounds, so I'm hoping to incorporate some of JF’s advice into my nutritional regime, weight cut and post weigh-in/pre-fight recovery. It's very difficult to maintain a low body weight and still have the energy for training.
Next is fight time for Elias and Zein. Going into the fight, I thought we had the edge. Elias is one of my best training partners on the team, and I know he can keep the fight at a high pace. Zein, on the other hand, seems like a methodical BJJ guy. I’m sure that Zein is dangerous if he gets in a good position on the ground, so we wanted to avoid him getting there.
I saw wrestling to be the determining factor in this fight. The guy who could get the takedown and stay on top would win. Ultimately, that was Elias. Zein put forward great effort, especially in the first round, but Elias’ relentless grinding style won him the fight via unanimous decision. Elias had the edge in striking, takedowns and ground-and-pound. We were proud with the win, and being undefeated was very motivating for the team and demoralizing for the Australians at the same time.
With this win, we are starting to feel more tension around the house. The kitchen is an absolute mess and some of the guys just don’t seem to care. That could lead to future problems.
The next fight announcement was made, and it’s going to be Chad Laprise vs. Chris Indich. Chad is a very good striker with great takedown defense. I know Chris from training with him at Robert Drysdale’s gym in Las Vegas. He’s a good purple belt.
I really hate to see either of these guys lose, but from what I’ve seen from Chad in practice, it’s looking like it should be another victory for Canada. I wasn't sure who would fight after that, but the coaches were saying either Nordine or myself. I was really hoping it was me because I was getting anxious to fight and I didn’t care whom they matched me up with.
**Tune in next week to hear Luke's thoughts on the continued tension between teams, more in-depth stories from the house and his thoughts on the fight between Chad Laprise and Chris Indich. Follow Luke on Twitter @HayabusaHarris and follow his gym @Hayabusa_TC.