Chad Laprise and Elias Theodorou joined the pantheon of Ultimate Fighter winners Wednesday night in Quebec City at the TUF Nations Finale.
Laprise used crisp striking and footwork to split-decision fellow Canadian Olivier-Aubin-Mercier while Elias Theodorou let Sheldon Westcott expend his energy early, then turned on the jets to secure a TKO win.
Team Canada coach Patrick Cote used the energy of the hometown crowd to overcome the strikes of Team Australia coach Kyle Noke.
It was a good win for Cote, who also benefited from some home cooking in our opinion.
In the main event, Bisping pounded out a unanimous decision win over special forces vet Tim Kennedy.
Bisping, who was returning a year long layoff to recover from an eye injury, was unable to keep the fight standing long enough to utilize his crisp boxing.
The record books will show Kennedy was the victor, but the unexciting win is unlikely to generate momentum towards any kind of a title shot.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman counts down the main event matches:
DUSTIN POIRER VS AKIRA CORASSANI
WINNER: DUSTIN POIRER VIA 2ND ROUND TKO
Wiseman: This was a huge jump in competition for Corassani, but that didn’t stop him from going for it from the beginning. These fighters showed that they have a chin as both connected with powerful shots, but still pressed forward. The problem for Corassani was that Poirier kept getting stronger. The pace and aggression of Poirier increased in the second round. He saw red, went after it and scored the TKO finish. Poirier is just a beast.
CHAD LAPRISE VS OLIVIER-AUBIN MERCIER
WINNER: CHAD LAPRISE VIA TKO.
Wiseman: Going into this fight both fighters were undefeated and prepared to take home the six -figure UFC contract. Mercier was expected to use his grappling to keep distance on his side, while Laprise was expected to try to keep things standing. While this may have been what really happened, the surprise of the night was the movement of Laprise. Mercier needed to throw combinations and set up his takedowns better, but Laprise circled away from the power shots of Mercier, avoided away from the cage, and showed great takedown defence. Overall, a great mature showing by Laprise.
SHELDON WESTCOTT VS ELIAS THEODOROU
WINNER AND ULTIMATE FIGHTER: ELIAS THEODOROU VIA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: Westcott came out guns blazing right from the beginning, forcing Theodorou on the defensive. Theodorou remained calm and kept the pressure going through the first round. The problem with this type of strategy is that Westcott gassed by the second round. Theodorou subsequently poured it to completely man-handle Westcott. Theodorou even had time to say, “Hi Mom!” while unloading ground-and-pound just before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. Fantastic showing by Theodorou.
PATRICK COTE VS KYLE NOKE
WINNER: PATRICK COTE VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Incredible pace set by both fighters for the entire 15 minutes. The striking of Noke was impeccable. The plan to keep Cote at a distance worked in his favour, except Cote rushed in with his own combinations and scored takedowns in all three rounds. The ground-and-pound of Cote was right on the money and he mixed up his body shots with elbows. It was the aggression of Cote and his dominance on the mat which gave him the decision win.
MICHAEL BISPING VS TIM KENNEDY
WINNER: TIM KENNEDY VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: Kennedy’s weakness: His standing game. Bisping’s weakness: His ground game. Each fighter showed their weaknesses and strengths tonight. Bisping, who usually has great takedown defence, wasn’t able to do as well against Kennedy. Once on the mat, Kennedy made it impossible for Bisping to get up. Bisping showed that his cardio still is as strong as ever versus Kennedy seemed to gas a little while still remaining powerful. I had the first and the third for Kennedy and the second and fourth for Bisping. Kennedy scored another takedown in the final round, which won the fight in my opinion. Bisping got back to his feet, but Kennedy still connected with several powerful shots. Ultimately, it was Bisping’s inability to stuff the takedowns of Kennedy which sealed the deal.