Which Canadian Has the Best Chance to Win TUF Nations at Middleweight?
This Wednesday, The Ultimate Fighter: Nations will premiere on Sportsnet in Canada. The series will have Patrick Cote coaching four Canadian Middleweights and four Canadian Welterweights against Kyle Noke’s similarly staffed Australian team.
The Canadian Middleweights competing on Team Canada are: Luke Harris, Sheldon Westcott, Nordine Taleb, and Elias Theodorou.
Top MMA News surveyed MMA experts (***see below for list of names) around Canada to see which Middleweight they believe will have the best chance to represent Canada in the TUF Nations Finale. Experts were asked to rank each Middleweight. The following are the results:
#1 Elias Theodorou (Total Points: 49.5, First Place Votes: 9.5)
Elias Theodorou (8-0) was the overwhelming top prediction to be the most successful Canadian Middleweight on TUF Nations. The fact that he entered the TUF House unbeaten adds a sense of invincibility. He also has size and the ability to finish opponents or ride the top to a decision win without taking too much damage, which is a benefit in a tournament.
Don Wilson thinks Theodorou could make the Finale,
“Elias’ size and takedown defense will give him the edge during the shorter ten minute matches allowing him to win uninspired wall and stall decisions, but wins nonetheless, over the Aussies. It is a tourney of who can take the least damage and stay in best shape and, out of all four Canadian Middleweights, I think Theodorou has it.”
Alex Caporicci shares Wilson’s thoughts on Theodorou,
“Theodorou has excellent wrestling, ground game and a standup game that he yet to really show. Theodorou looks to be the complete package and is potentially a fighter who can do very well at the next level.”
#2 Nordine Taleb (Total Points: 31, First Place Votes: 1)
Nordine Taleb (8-2) is the quiet pick to perform the best out of all the Canadians. Taleb, who lost to Mariusz Zaromskis in the Bellator 2012 tournament, took the past year off from fighting. An all-around fighter who trains out of Tristar has been on the big stage before.
Gary Whittaker, from TSN 690, likes Taleb’s chances,
“Nordine Taleb is a man who would win most underrated fighter out of Tristar gym. This guy just keeps attacking regardless of injury, even in training. He’s a beast on his fight with enough skill on the ground against this level of competition to keep it standing.”
#3 Luke Harris (Total Points: 30, First Place Votes: 2)
While Luke Harris (10-2) had more first place votes than Taleb, he received fewer points overall, which dropped him to third. Many voters felt Luke’s history of injuries may affect his ability to fight so often over the course of The Ultimate Fighter tournament.
Bobby Karimi-Busheri commented on why Luke could come out on top,
“While Harris is one dimensional, his one dimension is the most dominant out of the whole list of Canadians, especially if the Australians haven’t had a chance to research him. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also a massive MW.”
#4 Sheldon Westcott (Total Points: 24.5, First Place Votes: 1.5)
While Sheldon Westcott (8-1) finished last in the voting for total points, like Harris, he also had more first place votes than the second place Taleb. Westcott’s lack of big name opposition and experience at Middleweight was a factor in not picking Westcott higher, but the fact is this St. Albert fighter has not lost since 2007!
Michael Davis threw his first place vote to Westcott saying,
“Westcott he is a physical specimen & may be the strongest out of the four despite normally being a welterweight. Sheldon being at middle weight may help his cause in the grinding tournament as less weight to cut. His wrestling & grappling will be a lot to handle for anyone in the house as he is relentless on the attack, being a south paw will only help him as his chances to land that deadly left straight catching opponents off guard.”
So why do Elias Theodorou and Sheldon Westcott each have half votes? One voter, Mike Russell, predicts that there could be an all-Canadian Finale thus ensuring Canada’s first The Ultimate Fighter winner.
Russell discusses his thoughts,
“Theodorou has a knack for finding a way to win, as he has done in each of his 8 professional bouts in his whirlwind 2-½ year career. His key to success has been his constant ability to improve, thanks in large part to his cross training with many of the best fighters across Ontario.
Like Elias, Sheldon has surrounded himself with some of Alberta’s best fighters at his home base at Complete Martial Arts in Edmonton, Alberta. I feel that Westcott’s experience and grit will earn him a second Canadian Middleweight berth in the final, making for an intriguing east vs. west showdown in the 185-lb bracket.”
Although Shawn W. Smith voted for Theodorou for his first pick, his opinion seemed to echo Russell’s,
“Theodorou and Westcott seem to be the standouts to me, but Theodorou’s higher level of competition and well-rounded game lead me to pick him.”
Who Do You Think Will Win?
You heard from the experts, who do you think has the best shot at winning TUF Nations from the Canadian team?
Which Canadian will win TUF Nations at Middleweight?
- Elias Theodorou (41%, 77 Votes)
- Luke Harris (22%, 40 Votes)
- Sheldon Westcott (20%, 37 Votes)
- Nordine Taleb (17%, 32 Votes)
Total Voters: 186
- Joey Benoit, matchmaker of LAMMQ, commentator of Le Fight Show
- Robin Black, analyst/colour commentator at Fight Network
- Alex Caporicci, matchmaker of Provincial Fighting Championships
- Skippy Cohen, MMA Madhouse
- Mike Davis, fighter
- Marc-Andre Drolet, matchmaker, MAD about MMA
- Keith Grienke, Top MMA News
- Bobby Karimi, the MMA Gypsy, former manager
- Derek Leblanc, Top MMA News
- Cody Rempel, Top MMA News
- Mike Russell, manager at The Fight Empire
- Shawn W. Smith, Top MMA News
- Gary Whittaker, host of TSN 1290 Weekend Morning show
- Don Wilson, Top MMA News