Another week has rolled around, and with it comes another Badger blog, as well as another semifinal match-up in the TUF Nations house. The fight this week would see “Filthy” Richard Walsh go up against Canada’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier in a much-anticipated battle between two very skilled fighters.

Before it was time to get down to business, we were all shipped out to a remote property in the mountain country of rural Quebec. The scenery was amazing, and the owner of the place had built a spectacular log cabin by hand, where he and his family lived. This guy was completely self sufficient, with a lake for fishing, he hunted the local game and grew vegetables on his land. It was like we’d gone back in time, and I really enjoyed that experience and getting to know the hunter and his family.

The reason we were there was for the much-anticipated coaches’ challenge. We had no idea what might take place. We were soon told that our coaches would compete in three events: the axe throw, crossbow shoot and log sawing. I couldn’t see either coach having a huge advantage in any single area, although Cote was a trained sniper in the Canadian army, so I expected him to be the marksman of the two.

The axe throw saw both Kyle Noke and Patrick have some trouble getting their shots on target, and it came down to who could actually get the axe to stick in the block. Unfortunately for us, it was Pat who landed the sweet shot.

Next, we moved to the crossbow range, where both coaches would attempt to shoot an apple on a string from quite a distance. Both coaches had nicked the edge of the apple, but on his final shot, Kyle sealed his victory with a kill shot directly through the apple. We went ballistic. I’m surprised nobody got crushed beneath that mosh pit of excitement.

With the score at one apiece, it was time for the decider: the log sawing. The winner of this challenge would get their hands on quite a bit of cash, and all of us Aussie boys were keen for some extra spending money. Although, that came secondary to just wanting to win at everything. Unfortunately for us, Cote appeared to have some sort of natural gift for being a lumberjack (I suspect this had something to do with his blossoming beard). He got a slightly faster time than Kyle, clinching the victory in the coaches’ challenge. After the events, we were treated to an amazing feast which we all enjoyed immensely, even though most of the Team Australia members nearly died of hypothermia and we huddled together for body warmth.

One of the other goings on during Richie’s fight week was the graffiti of the Team Australia lockers. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but one thing led to another and Tyler Manawaroa and myself beheaded and gutted the Canadian team mascot. In the words of Ron Burgundy, “Boy, that escalated quickly!”

It was my mission from then on to find out who had defaced our team photos, for two main reasons.

First, all of the fighters, including the Canadians, were taking those photos home as a souvenir for family, and I felt it was disrespectful that some guy’s photos were pretty destroyed.

Second, I just don’t like pussies. The way the Canadians would never admit to doing anything ruffled my feathers. Wait, badgers don’t have feathers…anyway, I asked a few guys, and was disappointed when watching the show to see that Luke Harris was one of the guys doing it. When I asked him, he said, “I really wish I could tell you.” You really wish you could tell me what? That you’re waiting for your backbone to arrive via FedEx?

Anyway, down to business. Rich had been looking great in prep for this fight. Physically, he had peaked perfectly, and if he could mentally stay in the right place, he had every tool he needed to dispose of Olivier.

Olivier was a highly touted prospect, and we’d seen him get a unanimous decision over Jake Matthews in what was a good display of positional control. It seemed this would in some ways be a battle of striker versus grappler, not strictly in skill alone, but more so in game plan and execution.

As the fight began, Rich looked sharp, as expected. His tidy boxing was keeping Olivier on edge and at range. A few low, inside thigh kicks thrown in the mix really had Oli stuck on the outside, looking a bit uncomfortable. However, Olivier wasted no time in exploding in to push Rich to the cage, and he began looking for the takedown. He was successful with a double-leg takedown, although Filthy Rich quickly popped to his feet. As he did, though, Oli ducked to his back and Rich seemed to freeze for a moment, looking at his corner for advice. This split-second lapse was enough for Olivier to sink in a rear-naked choke and take the victory.

Understandably, Richie was very emotional and was a bit down on himself for the momentary lapse in concentration which cost him the fight. After he’d had some time to let his emotions run free like Daniel Kelly on a late-night nudie stroll, Rich went for a shower. On his return, we were shocked to see he’d shaved off his battle beard (which we’d both agreed to grow during our time at the tryouts). Who was this man? Where had his lips gone?

During our final days in the house, attention turned to the final fight of the season, Vik Grujic vs. Sheldon Westcott.

Tune in next week to keep up with the action of our final days, the final battle and no doubt some hilarious antics from the crew. Until then, keep Badgin’!

Brendan “Badger” O’Reilly would like to thank his cult-like supporters, his sponsors Mass Nutrition Chermside, Sports Master Athletics, Harris Stability Systems, Battlebeard Athletics and gyms Gamebred Combat Club, Alliance Jiu Jitsu Brisbane and Fortitude Boxing. Follow the Badger’s antics on Twitter: @oreillymma
Watch The Ultimate Fighter: Nations every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1

About The Author

Brendan O'Reilly
TUF: Nations Blogger

Brendan "Badger" O'Reilly prides himself on being a physical and aggressive fighter. He is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a former Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling state champion in Australia. Before discovering MMA, Brendan was a representative Rugby League player, while also competing in rodeos. He set aside both sports to focus solely on succeeding in mixed martial arts. Outside of competing as a professional fighter, Brendan owns and operates Gamebred Combat Club, a Cross Fit and MMA gym, in Brisbane, Australia and also boasts a degree in Applied Science.