TUF Nations: Luke Harris Fighter Blog, Episode 5
By: Riley Kontek February 12,2014
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Our team was surprised after Nordine Taleb's loss but really, that’s the fight game. Someone will always win and the other will lose. Both guys put on a great fight, which I believe so far is the fight of the season. They left everything in the cage and should be proud of themselves. The fight was a razor close decision that in my opinion, could have gone either way. Both guys are true warriors.
It was pretty funny watching Nordine and Tyler Manawaroa do shots after the fight. Nordine definitely won that contest. The mood around the house was somewhat different now. There seemed to be a lot less tension. We got to see Nordine step into another role and help out the team.
At practice, Patrick Cote spoke to the team and gave us some good insight about training our weaknesses. He said it could have made a difference in our last fight. I completely agree that you have to keep your main skill sets strong, but always work elements of your game that are weaker. Being predominantly a grappler, I really focus on my striking every training session, as you never know when you’re going to find a situation where you can’t take your opponent down or you meet someone more skilled in that realm.
This weeks fight is Matt Desroches vs. Richard Walsh. Matt is a great guy, but he’s very new to the sport, having only fought professionally for 2 years. He’s 21 years old and his record is 4-0, and this kid has a ton of potential. Matt has good footwork, heavy hands, great grip strength and an incredibly long reach (77”). He’s also a corporal in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Richard on the other hand is Australia’s biggest welterweight. To me, Richard seems like a very cognitive guy. He's always analyzing situations and I’m sure he does the same when training and fighting. I was pretty sure his plan was to put Matt on the cage. My hope was that Matt could use his tools and KO him in the process. Richard is one of my favorite Aussies, but I’ve got to go with Matt in this one.
It was really interesting hearing their coaches talk about keeping the fight standing. I thought for sure Richard would want to take it to the ground. Richard talks a lot about the sacrifices he’s made to be a fighter. It’s definitely something that only fighters understand, and a bond that we all share. Richard is very motivated. He talks about TUF being a proving ground, and it really is.
Looking into the fight picks for next week, I was very excited that with Matt getting a victory, it would be my turn to fight. Our coaches wanted me to fight Dan Kelly, a matchup that I welcomed. I was willing to fight any of the Australians but my gameplan was preparing for this fight. I have a lot of respect for Dan and whats he’s done in the sport of judo (four-time Olympian). It would have been an honor to fight him and I knew we had a mutual respect for one another. I knew in the back of my head that if Richard won, the Australian coaches would most likely pick either Dan or Vic Grujic to fight Sheldon.
To read more, go to my Team Canada blog on www.BleacherReport.com