TUF Nations: Luke Harris Fighter Blog, Episode 4

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

Courtesy of Luke Harris' Twitter

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.

This episode starts out with Chris Indich confronting Nordine Taleb about Team Canada talking about going 8-0 and being undefeated. He says he can take a punch and proved it in this fight. Chris pinpoints the culprit, but I can assure you that Chris has the respect of most of the Canadians, including myself.

After the fight, Chad Laprise showed his class by giving Chris a slice of cheesecake. After a win, guys got to order their favorite foods to celebrate. It turned into a bit of a custom to share it with the guy you just fought.

Woke up to a racket one of the days before weigh-ins. The front door was left wide open, and the Aussies were having a snowball fight. It must be an amazing feeling to see snow for the first time. I found their excitement very cool, although not all of my teammates shared the enthusiasm. Chad was hit by a stray snowball, and a cameraman took one in the face. It was hilarious.

I’m struggling a bit to keep my weight down. I’m just under 200 pounds but barely eating any carbs. Definitely notice a lack of energy during training, but that might also have to do with not taking a day off yet. It’s been two practices a day since we got here. I’ve noticed that Nordine has also lost quite a bit of weight. Pretty sure he came here weighing 195 pounds but woke up on weigh-in day at 184.4 pounds. He usually fights at 170 pounds, so that makes sense.

Tyler Manawaroa, on the other hand, really looks like he’s struggling to make weight. His eating hasn’t looked the cleanest, and on weigh-in day, I saw his coaches locking him in the sauna to get off those last few pounds. I thought there was a chance that Tyler was going to miss weight, but thankfully, he made it.

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It was cool watching this episode and getting a glimpse of the Aussies training. There's a reason why they call Tyler a "Wild Thing." It suits him with his training style and attitude in general. The kid definitely has power in his hands, and I really do like his attitude towards fighting. He has a lot of potential.

The weigh-in staredown was epic with both guys making weight. Nordine definitely got the better of Tyler with the staredown at fight picks, but Tyler returned the favor during weigh-in and got right in Nordine’s face. Can’t wait for this fight! Nordine’s a beast, but Tyler is fearless.

Going into this fight, our team had the utmost confidence in Nordine. My prediction was Nordine via KO or TKO in the first round. I think we all underestimated Tyler, but it’s hard to take a guy seriously when he eats a full pizza the night before the fight. Nordine and Tyler were a huge juxtaposition from their training to their fight preparation, their personalities and their physiques. Needless to say, our team predicted a vicious beatdown by Nordine.

Nordine also tried to mislead the Australians by telling them that he was a wrestler. It was more of a joke than anything. Pretty sure that Kyle Noke knew that Nordine was a dangerous striker. He has sparred with him before at both Jackson's MMA and Tristar Gym. We didn’t know that much about Tyler except that most of the Aussies thought that he was their best guy. He had a 10-0 record. Tyler knows that Team Canada is confident in Nordine, but he doesn’t care. I’m sure he’s ready to prove us wrong.

Fight time was 3 p.m., as usual, and everyone was excited for this fight. The two met in the middle of the cage and started to exchange. Nordine opened with a jab and inside leg kick and kept it technical while Tyler started to brawl.

Nordine landed some knees in the clinch and took the first round, although Tyler connected a few times.

It was too funny seeing Tyler trash talking in the corner after the first.

In the second round, Tyler started to land more. Nordine shook his head when he got hit, which I'm sure influenced the judges a bit and swayed this round in Tyler's favor. Tyler landed his right uppercut and then took an unintentional low blow but went right back in to fight.

Nordine had a cut over his left eye. Tyler dropped Nordine with his lead hand and got a takedown. Nordine then delivered some heavy knees from the clinch. Tyler swung wildly. Fatigue was setting in. Tyler's hands were at his waist, but it’s a bit of a deceiving style, as he was still able to evade Nordine's attacks. Tyler connected with a spinning elbow, then finished the round with a harai-goshi throw at the bell. Pretty sure that last exchange stole him the round.

I expected a third round. Between rounds, Aussie coach Adrian Pang called for that spinning elbow out of the clinch.

Both guys were a bit hesitant at the start of this round, but Nordine stalked Tyler. Nordine didn't seem like himself, and he was definitely kicking less. Tyler listened well to his corner—a skill that is very important. Nordine got the clinch and again went to work with knees, which is where he was scoring the most. Tyler hit a big elbow off the break. Nordine got a takedown and moved into half guard. I was pretty sure he had the fight if he could hold this position. Tyler then flipped off the cage to take mount, landed some heavy shots and then took Nordine's back to finish the round. WHAT A FIGHT!

Tyler won by unanimous decision. We couldn’t believe it. The ball was now in the Australian's court for the first time.

Afterwards, we found out that Nordine had broken his foot. I piggybacked Nordine to the medic to get stitches. So far, that’s the best fight of the season and it’s going to be a tough one to beat. That’s $25,000 for each man!

Kajan Johnson said it best to Nordine when he said, “you lose, but you don’t lose respect."

It’s started snowing hard again and both Nordine and Tyler were off to the hospital. I loved seeing these two warriors talk post-fight. I don’t think people understand the respect fighters have for one another, especially a guy that steps in the cage with you.

The next fight pick was the first for the Aussies. They picked Richard Walsh to fight Matt Desroches. It’s the pick we wanted anyway. Matt has the least amount of experience on our team, but in my opinion, is one of the guys with the most potential. Matt is very new to the sport but very powerful. Richard is more of a wrestler from what we know of him. Should be a good fight! 

**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.