The Ultimate Fighter – Nations: Australia vs Canada cast was officially announced earlier today for the show, which is currently being filmed in Canada.
The series, which will feature both welterweights and middleweights, is set to premiere in Australia in the early part of 2014 on FX Australia.
Coaching the Australian team will be welterweight Kyle Noke who will also be joined by Integrated MMA fighter Adrian Pang as well as BJJ specialist Robert Alencar and wrestler Israel Martinez. UFC veteran Patrick Cote is the coach of the Canadian team and is joined by Brazilian Top Team member Fabio Holanda, wrestler David Zilberman and striking coach Kru Ash.
Chris INDICH (6-1): Indich, 26, has fought the majority of his bouts over on Australia’s West coast in the Superfight Australia and Bragging Rights promotions. He knocked out the Bangkok based Stanley Phan in his last bout back in August at Submission 4 in Alice Springs. A WA BJJ gold medalist, Indich also holds a TKO win over Mark Tabone, with his lone loss coming against kickboxing specialist Ben Kelleher back in May 2012.
Jake MATTHEWS (6-0): This 19-year old Victorian based fighter has built up an impressive 6-0 record. He recently fought his way to the AFC welterweight tournament final, however after TUF came calling he was unable to contest the final against Corey Nelson, who would have been the youngsters biggest test to date. In his short career, Matthews has been impressive to date and will go into the reality show with two rear-naked choke submission wins in 2013.
Brendan O’REILLY (5-0, 1 no-contest): Training out of Brisbane’s Gamebred gym alongside TUF Smashes fighter Ben Wall and popular Invicta FC fighter Bec Hyatt, O’Reilly, 26, goes back to the welterweight division after competing the majority of his career at lightweight. O’Reilly has a TKO win over heavy-handed Sam Bastin and in his most recent outing he took the Fury Lightweight title with a submission over Mike Aarts back in February.
Richard WALSH (7-1): Based out of Sydney’s VT1 Gym, 25 year-old Walsh was a final contender for the TUF Smashes house before being overlooked. His only professional loss has come to TUF Smashes winner Robert Whittaker back in 2009 and since then has popped off five wins in a row which included wins over Callan Potter and Adriano Magnani. His last outing was a decision win over Aaron Fosterling back in December on Brace 18.
Olivier AUBIN-MERCIER (4-0): Based out of Quebec in Canada, 24 year-old Aubin-Mercier brings a perfect 4-0 professional record to the series on top of an extensive amateur career. All four professional wins were won via a rear-naked choke with Aubin-Mercier having competed at lightweight in recent times.
Matthew DESROCHES (4-0): A newcomer to the sport, 21 year-old Desroches only made his professional debut in 2012 and started his career with three consecutive first-round TKO wins. In his last outing back in July, DesRoches submitted American fighter Jonathan Lemke early in the first-round.
Kajan JOHNSON (19-10, 1 draw): Johnson will bring by far the most experience into the house having competed professionally since 2002. Another Tristar gym product, Johnson competed against the likes of Jason St Louis, Rory MacDonald, Zach Light and Ryan Healy. His last outing though was back in October 2011.
Chad LAPRISE (7-0): Since making his debut back in 2010, Ontario, Canada based Laprise has won all seven of his professional bouts, that includes two appearances on the Bellator MMA promotion. His last appearance was back in 2013 where the Adrenaline Training Centre fighter won a unanimous decision over fellow countryman Derek Boyle.
Vik GRUJIC (6-2): A Victorian based fighter who has spent the majority of his career fighting on kickboxing events that have featured some MMA bouts on them. Most recently Grujic, 36, has competed in the Australian Fighting Championships where he is coming off a decision win over Daniel Way. He also has a notable decision loss to fellow TUF Nations contestant Zein Saliba.
Daniel KELLY (6-0): Thirty six year-old Kelly has a decade of international experience behind him having competed at the Olympic level in Judo which included representing Australia at the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. His best finish came at the 2004 games where he placed 7th. In MMA, Kelly made his unofficial debut back in 2006 where he competed in Dojo KO which was contested under modified rules. It wasn’t until December last year that Kelly fought again and in a hard fought bout, he defeated BJJ Black Belt Fabio Galeb via Decision. He has remained active in 2013, winning all his bouts and most recently knocking out Slovenian fighter Bor Bratovz in August.
Tyler MANAWAROA (10-0): This Integrated MMA product based in Queensland was a final contender for the TUF Smashes season but at only 17 years of age at the time, was ultimately excluded due to not being over the required age of 18. A few years later, and a couple more bouts, Manawaroa enters the season as one of Australia’s biggest prospects. Manawaroa goes into the house with a undefeated 10-0 record, with only one of those fights having gone to the decision.
Zein SALIBA (4-0): The team-mate of Bernardo Trekko, Richie Vaculik and Manuel Rodriguez, Saliba returns to the middleweight division for the reality show after earlier this year missing weight for a welterweight bout. A submission specialist, Saliba last competed back in December 2012 where he defeated fellow TUF Nations contestant Vik Grujic.
Luke HARRIS (10-2, 1 no-contest): Another 36-year old fighter who brings years of MMA experience having made his MMA debut back in 2007. After losing his debut fight, Harris then went on a 10 fight undefeated streak which included a win against Edwin Dewees. His last three bouts have all taken place in the Canadian MFC promotion, where in his most recent outing back in May, he defeated Jason Zentgraf with a first-round neck-crank submission.
Nordine TALEB (8-2): Despite having lost his last fight, Taleb will be one of the favourites to take out the whole season. Taleb trains out of Tristar Gym in Montreal, Canada. Taleb has a 2011 win over former UFC fighter Pete Sell and followed that up with a decision win over Matt Secor in Bellator as well as a TKO over Matt MacGrath. In his last appearance in Bellator, Taleb lost a unanimous decision to the highly touted Marius Zaromskis.
Elias THEODOROU (8-0): The undefeated Theodorou is a hot prospect from Ontario, Canada who has had a successful run in Canada’s regional scene since making his debut back in 2011. In April, 2012 he had a successful once-off appearance in Bellator where he came out victorious via TKO. His last outing was a TKO win over American fighter Travis Clark back in August this year.
Sheldon WESTCOTT (8-1, 1 draw): At 29 years-old, Westcott’s lone loss came via a split points decision in his debut back in 2007. Since then, the Complete Martial Arts product out of Alberta, Canada has not tasted defeat in his last 9 fights. In his last outing back in April, Westcott needed just 13 seconds to knockout his opponent Aaron Shymr.