Tonight, the UFC heads to Quebec City, Canada for The Ultimate Fighter: Nations Finale. The main card features the final round for the Welterweight and Middleweight tournament finals. In the headlining fight, Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy. The co-main will see the season’s coaches Patrick Cote and Kyle Noke square off inside the Octagon.
This post will follow all of the main card action starting at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT). For those that haven’t been following the show, Chad Laprise faces off against Olivier Aubin-Mercier in the 170 lb. tourney final and Sheldon Westcott takes on Elias Theodorou in the Middleweight final. Let us know what you think about the action in the comments.
Dustin Poirier vs. Akira Corassani
Round 1 – Poirier looks to close the distance and Corassani backs him off with a big right. Corassani with a lot of feints and lateral movement to accommodate for Poirier’s length advantage. Poirier throws a right hook/left cross and clinches up but Corassani stays upright and breaks loose. Long jab lands clean for Poirier. Corassani connects with a counter right hand to the body and then holds his ground with another stiff, straight right.
Another short-range right clips Poirier and he goes wobbly, but not down. Poirier’s aggressive forward movement is now more tempered as Corassani continues to land the better shots as counters off his back foot. Now a right lands for Poirier. And a left. Two lefts for Poirier, the latter snapping his head back. Straight left connects for Poirier, and they pause to stand still and heave bombs at each other for a moment. Right hand from Corassani. They collide and Poirier catches Corassani in the front head lock and snaps him down to the canvas, then scampers into D’arce position. Corassani, belly down, hand-fights it off but Poirier switches to a Peruvian necktie. Corassani gets out and back to his feet, but he’s bloodied up and eating another flurry from Poirier. Quite a round there. 10-9 Poirier.
Round 2 – Poirer covers up on Corassani’s first flurry then cracks him with a lead cross and uppercut, then follows up with a series of shots to the body and a left hand high — Corassani crumples to the canvas.
- Dustin Poirier defeats Akira Corassani by TKO (punches), Round 2
Chad Laprise vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercie
Round 1 – Laprise barely gets a glove in front of Aubin-Mercier’s left high kick. Low kick from Laprise. Laprise threatening with an over-the-shoulder left hook when Aubin-Mercier shrinks the gap. Aubin-Mercier knifes into the clinch but Laprise breaks it and separates. Looping overhand from Laprise is blocked at the last moment. Counter right hand from Laprise on Aubin-Mercier left hook, then a counter left and right.
No dice on Aubin-Mercier’s takedown attempt, but he nearly gets ahold of Laprise on his next combo. Straight left from Aubin-Mercier, but it’s answered by a right cross from Laprise. Aubin-Mercier with a left body kick but it lands with the toes. Stiff combo from Laprise partially lands and backs Aubin-Mercier up. 10-9 Laprise.
Round 2 – Laprise finds the mark early, then again with his slick counter left hook. Huge uppercut and left hook from Laprise as Aubin-Mercier charges in. Aubin-Mercier switches it up by changing levels and shooting a double, then switches to a single leg and gets it. Laprise sits up to escape and Aubin-Mercier goes for a guillotine, and Laprise somersaults over him to escape. Nasty body shot from Laprise back on the feet.
Left body kick lands for Aubin-Mercier, but there’s not much on it. He sneaks in a straight jab though, then dings Laprise with a straight left. Laprise goes downstairs with a right. Right hook from Aubin-Mercier. Laprise plugs him with a rear uppercut. Aubin-Mercier faring much better with the range game here. Laprise clocks him with a quick step-in right. Aubin-Mercier lands a left counter on Laprise’s low kick. 10-9 Laprise.
Round 3 – Aubin-Mercier changes levels for a double but Laprise shucks it off. Inside low kick from Laprise after a left sneaks through for Aubin-Mercier. Aubin-Mercier times a shot on Laprise’s kick and puts him on his back, but Laprise puts both heels in his chest and boots him off powerfully, leaving enough room for a clean escape. Laprise lands a short-range right, slips on a kick, gets back to his feet and slips in a left before Aubin-Mercier can pounce.
Laprise catches Aubin-Mercier repetitive left kick and sweeps out his support leg with a kick; he backs off and lets Aubin-Mercier back up. Aubin-Mercier with a nice uppercut. A medley of left hook/right cross combos from Laprise. Laprise attacks with a three-punch combo and then fires a spinning kick to the body. He tries another but it whiffs. Laprise digs to the body with a left and right at the bell. 10-9 Laprise for a 30-27 overall tally on my card.
- Chad Laprise defeats Olivier Aubin-Mercie by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Sheldon Westcott vs. Elias Theodorou
Round 1 – They collide in the center and get to work. Westcott switches from punches to the clinch and Theodorou counters with a body knee but gets taken down. Westcott is slick and quickly transitions to standing back mount as Theodorou stands up, snaking both hooks in and trying to slip his arm under the chin. Theodorou hand fights his grip to stay afloat in the foreboding position.
Theodorou peels off Westcott’s arm and breaks out of the hooks, falling into side control with a wild flurry of punches. Westcott weathers the storm and gets back up but digests a knee in pursuit of a takedown, then another, but with much more impact to the head from Theodorou’s double collar tie just as he’s back on his feet. Westcott shoots, perhaps out of desperation, and holds Theodorou on the cage. Theodorou interrupts his time-out with a sharp elbow to the temple and Westcott rolls onto his back, where he’s greeted with more punches from the top. Stiff right from Theodorou, then an outside low kick with the lead leg. Double roundhouse kicks to the body from Theodorou, followed by an alternating left low kick/right roundhouse kick high. Good shit. 10-9 Theodorou.
Round 2 – In a demoralizing move, Theodorou clinches up with Westcott and hoists him off the ground, slamming him with a big double leg, then does it again after Westcott gets up. Westcott stands up again and pushes Theodorou into the fence, and replicates a similar power double. Theodorou gets back to his feet and Westcott curiously drops back for a guillotine that isn’t even close. Theodorou stacks his legs and drills punches between them, backs off, moves in to heave down a big right hand but is interrupted by the ref, who decides it’s time to intervene for a stand up. Theodorou shrugs and gives him a look of bewilderment that’s likely mirrored by many fans watching.
Theodorou goes beast-mode on the restart, swarming Westcott with more punches, rag-dolling him to the canvas and shellacking him with an elbow, turning this into a veritable ass-kicking. Theodorou smashes Westcott with two forearms as he regains half guard. Amidst this downpour of violence, the ref warns the fighters to work or he’ll stand them up. Jesus. Theodorou persists with the barrage of elbows and forearms and the ref must see things differently now as he jumps in to the stop the fight.
- Elias Theodorou defeats Sheldon Westcott by TKO (elbows/punches), Round 2
Sam Stout vs. K.J. Noons (preliminary card replay)
Round 1 – Two linear kicks to the knee from Noons to start out. Oh boy … Noons absolutely plasters Stout with a duck-under overhand right that floors Stout, then dives into his guard with a flying left hand that also connects clean. The ref jumps in to wave it off but has his takedown defense and top-game tested by Stout, who’s still out of sorts from the punishment. That’s the first time Stout has ever been finished via strikes in his entire career.
- K.J. Noons defeats Sam Stout by KO (punch), Round 1
Patrick Cote vs. Kyle Noke
Round 1 – Noke opens up with a left roundhouse kick to Cote’s cup, which lands with a hollow pop. Cote is immediately ready to resume action. Stiff rear-leg teep from Noke, then he glances with an inside low kick, forming an effective distance strategy. Cote gets inside and plugs him with a short overhand right, and then another as Noke lands a knee to the body from the double collar tie. They clinch up and Noke drives Cote to the fence, finding the mark with two knees downstairs before disengaging. Cote throws a lead-leg side kick and lands it high on the chest. Cote catches the next kick and takes Noke down, squeezing his head out of the guillotine Noke caught on the way down.
Cote sits up and hammers down an elbow, then goes to work on the ribs with short rights. Noke swivels his hips for an armbar but Cote shuts it down. Vicious elbow from the top for Cote. Cote buries his head in Noke’s chest and then postures up for strikes. Another armbar attempt from Noke is a no go. He attempts a third and Cote slams a right to his jaw. Noke tries to overhook Cote’s right arm and does, but eats another right hand when Cote slips free. Triangle attempt from Noke; nothing cookin’. More composed ground and pound from Cote. 10-9 Cote.
Round 2 – Another kick-heavy onslaught from Noke out on the fringe. Noke perfectly times a knee as Cote is coming in with his head down, and the blow staggers the Canadian. Noke pounces but Cote recovers quickly, though wearing a little damage from the knee. Noke fires a linear kick to the knee and it lands square — that could have an impact later on in the fight. Cote continues his forward pressure undaunted and is able to corner Noke and secure a takedown about halfway through the frame.
Pestering lefts to the ribs from Cote on top, loosened blind with his head in Noke’s chest. Noke squirms toward the cage for an escape and Cote levels him with another volley of big elbows. Noke takes a knee and Cote controls his hips to hold him in place, then blasts him to the body with a pair of knees. That round was almost literally first-half to Noke and second-half to Cote, with both mounting significant offense. 10-10.
Round 3 – Cote heaves an overhand and nearly marches right into a Noke front kick. Noke doubles up on left low kicks and then goes high with it; Cote blocks it. Cote fakes a level change and barges in with an overhand right that just misses. Cote attempts the linear kick to the knee and Noke fires one right back, neither connecting flush. Cote initiates a clinch and ends up in the over-under with Noke’s back on the fence. Noke circles off and the reset with 2:50 left.
Lead left hook lands for Noke. Cote switches to southpaw, perhaps to protect the left knee that Noke smashed with the linear kick earlier. He goes back to orthodox and catches a Noke kick, changing it into a single leg, then a high crotch, then finally getting Noke down with a double leg. Cote gets right to work from the top, pelting Noke with hammerfists as he tries to squirt free. Another strong elbow from the top from Cote, and it opens up Noke in his hairline. Noke gets back up and Cote switches to a body lock at the bell. Close round but I thought Cote was more effective on the ground in the latter half: 10-9 Cote for a 30-28 Cote overall.
- Patrick Cote defeats Kyle Noke by unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
Michael Bisping vs. Tim Kennedy
Round 1 – Kennedy wings a right over Bisping’s left hand and changes levels for a double leg. Bisping gets a wide base and jams Kennedy’s head down, but Kennedy readjusts and yanks Bisping’s legs out with the double. Kennedy gets a body lock to secure him and then uses it to wrangle Bisping all the way down. Half butterfly guard for Bisping, waiting for Kennedy to try to pass. Kennedy is static for a moment and Bisping tries to shrimp out but there’s not enough room due to the cage.
Bisping goes on his hip but Kennedy grabs the body lock again to first stay connected, then to bowl Bisping onto his back. Bisping triangles his legs in half guard and leans over for a kimura but Kennedy anticipates and passes to full mount. Bisping nearly bucks him off enough to regain half guard but Kennedy’s base is too strong. Bisping spins out and Kennedy goes along for the ride, taking Bisping’s back. Bisping stays slippery and returns to his back, staying busy enough to ride out the round. 10-9 Kennedy.
Round 2 – A Bisping left high kick is blocked. They stay in open space and Bisping starts to find the mark with quick jabs. Now another crisp jab, but as soon as Bisping tries to tack on follow-up punches, Kennedy unbolts a heavy right. Kennedy allows himself to be cornered against the fence and Bisping loosens a three-piece combo, landing with at least two. Kennedy answers with a takedown attempt — Bisping gets under-hooks and Kennedy stays on him until “The Count” spins free.
Bisping stomps on the gas with a flying knee as soon as they separate, then dings Kennedy in the temple with a nice counter right hand. Bisping clips him with another counter, and Kennedy once again backs up until he hits the fence and eats a combo. Bisping counters nicely again with a right, clearly owning the round thus far. Quite curiously, Kennedy waltzes backwards until his back is on the fence and Bisping tees off on him while he’s cornered. 10-9 Bisping.
Round 3 – Bisping catches Kennedy’s right kick but can’t convert. They land right hands mutually but Kennedy follows up with a double leg, and catches Bisping planted. Kennedy engulfs him on the ground, again assuming a base-heavy top game in Bisping’s half guard. Kennedy sneaks over the knee and passes to side mount. Bisping regains guard but takes a pair of lefts for his troubles. Bisping leans over the kimura and gets the two-on-one grip but Kennedy just muscles out of it like a gorilla.
Kennedy postures up and fires shots to Bisping’s body, then performs the same pass to side mount. This time he couples it with a pass to full mount with 1:30 on the clock. Big elbow sails down for Kennedy, followed by two lefts. Bisping scrambles out of mount and regains half guard, but Kennedy mounts again with 50 seconds left. Bisping gets his feet on the cage and tries to push off to no avail. 10-9 Kennedy.
Round 4 – Kennedy wings a flat-footed overhand right that misses, then whiffs with a left, waiting for Bisping to throw a punch. He gets tired of waiting and dives for a single leg, then changes to a body lock with Bisping on the fence. When he changes levels again, Bisping squirts free and they reset with 3:20 left. Uh-oh. Kennedy wandering straight back into a corner again, where Bisping plugs him with a straight right. Snapping jab from Bisping. Kennedy looks exhausted but manages to land a right hand. Bisping double jabs and Kennedy steps back and cracks him with a right. Telegraphed takedown attempt from Kennedy, and this time Bisping anticipates his change to the body lock and breaks free during the transition.
Left hook from Kennedy; it’s answered with a clean left from Bisping. Kennedy sustains the tit-for-tat exchange by plastering Bisping with a huge right hand. Bisping looks a little wobbly for a moment but regains his composure, albeit with a bloody nose. Kennedy lands a right and Bisping answers right back with one of his own. Big one-two by Kennedy and the two lands hard, but Bisping walks right through it. Slow-motion spinning kick from Bisping. 10-9 Kennedy for landing the harder shots.
Round 5 – Bisping counters Kennedy’s front kick with a quick right. One-two and left roundhouse kick from Bisping, who’s all pivots and angles while Kennedy’s all straight lines. It doesn’t matter, as Kennedy barrels in for a double leg and gets Bisping down. We’re back in half guard — no, Kennedy slithers right into full mount. Bisping cuts an angle off his back and pushes off the cage with both feet, failing on the escape but improving things by regaining half guard. Pretty sure referee Yves Lavigne just shouted “Shut up!” at someone’s cornerman.
The action lulls and they’re stood back up with just over 2 minutes left. Kennedy throws a wild right and Bisping side-steps his takedown attempt easily. Bisping dances around with quick combos as Kennedy’s pace slows, but nothing significant lands and it’s Kennedy who connects flush with a right. Now Bisping dings him with both hands, then lands a right on the next exchange. Flying knee for Bisping before the bell but nothing’s doin’. 10-9 Kennedy. I have it 49-46 Kennedy.
- Tim Kennedy defeats Michael Bisping by unanimous decision (49-46 x 2, 50-45)
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