After 11 straight fights in Canada, lightweight Chad (The Disciple) Laprise was ready to see the world.
He gets his wish Saturday night when he takes on England's Ross (The Real Deal) Pearson on a televised UFC card in Brisbane.
"I actually asked the UFC to fight on this card. Fighting in Australia has always been a dream, of mine," said Laprise. "I've always wanted to go there."
Australia is already part of his fight resume. The 29-year-old from Chatham, Ont., who trains in Montreal, won "The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia" reality TV show as a welterweight.
Rival fighters became friends and Laprise has been training at Brendan (The Badger) O'Reilly's gym in Brisbane. O'Reilly, a TUF Nations alumnus, fights American Alan Jouban on Saturday's card (which is actually 9 a.m. Sunday Australian time).
Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir (18-10-0) takes on hard-hitting Kiwi Mark Hunt (11-10-1) in the main event at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Hunt is ranked ninth among heavyweight contenders while Mir is No. 10.
Laprise (11-1-0) was originally slated to fight Brazil's Alan Patrick. But eight days before the bout he was shifted to face Pearson (20-10-1 with one no contest) after Pearson's original opponent, American Abel Trujillo, dropped off the card because of visa issues.
Patrick will instead take on Brisbane's Damien Brown.
Former minor-league enforcer Steve (The Boss) Bosse of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., fights New Zealand's James Te Huna on the main card. Bosse (10-1-0) was knocked out in 29 seconds in his UFC debut last June by Thiago Santos.
The former Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey tough guy was originally slated to make his UFC debut against fellow Canadian Ryan Jimmo in April 2014. But Bosse had to pull out of the fight with a shoulder injury and subsequently retired.
Bosse returned and was briefly on the UFC 186 card last April in Montreal as a replacement fighter but ultimately wasn't needed.
Laprise, who won his first three UFC fights, is coming off a first-round TKO loss to Francisco Trinaldo last August in Saskatoon. Essentially he got caught with a punch. Ironically he says he obsessed about Trinaldo's "monster left hand" during training camp.
"He's not a better fighter than me ... I got cracked with one big punch," he said.
This time, he says he's not going to worry about what his opponent is going to do.
"I'm going to go out there and do my thing," he said.
Laprise has also gone back to his roots, bringing striking coach Leo Loucks and former UFC fighter Jesse Ronson, whom he worked with at the Adrenaline Training Centre in London, back into his camp.
Pearson, a former bricklayer, won "The Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom" in 2009. He is 10-7-0 with one no contest in the UFC but is 3-4-0 in his last seven.
Laprise, a slight favourite, will likely find himself on hostile ground given Pearson is married to an Australian.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press