The UFC is bringing fight fans another action-packed weekend, as December seems to be the month of giving from the UFC. Two more events air this weekend on free television. The UFC kicks things off with an event on Friday December 14, well technically the 15th, but since the event is in Australia the time difference causes it to air on the 14th in North America. The event takes place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Center in Gold Coast, Australia.
[adinserter block=”1″]For the past several weeks the UFC has been airing The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes on international television. The event featured Australian born fighters lead by Aussie coach George Sotiropoulos taking on a team of English born fighters coached by former TUF Winner Ross Pearson. The two coaches will headline the card in a five-round Lightweight bout. The co-main event features Middleweight action as Rousimar Palhares battles former Bellator champion Hector Lombard. The other two main card bouts feature finals of TUF: Smashes as Australia’s Robert Whittaker takes on England’s Brad Scott in the Welterweight finals and Team England’s Colin Fletcher battles teammate Norman Parke in the Lightweight finals.
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Nick Penner vs. Cody Donovan
Nick Penner is a 32-year-old Canadian fighter from Blumenort, Manitoba, Canada. He is a member of the Hayabusa Training Centre in Winnipeg. Penner holds a career record of 11-2. Cody Donovan is an American fighter from Denver, Colorado. Donovan trains out of the Grudge Training Center alongside notable UFC fighters such as Shane Carwin, Justin Salas and Brendan Schaub. Donovan holds a career record of 7-2.
Quick Pick: Nick Penner via TKO in Round Two
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Lightweight Bout: Brendan Loughane vs. Mike Wilkinson
Brendan Loughane is an English fighter from Manchester, England. He is an undefeated prospect who trains out of the Mosside Ground and Pound Gym in his hometown. He holds a career record of 5-0. Mike “The Warrior” Wilkinson is an English fighter from Leigh, England. He is a member of the Atherton Submission Wrestling Gym and is also an undefeated prospect. He holds a career record of 7-0.
Quick Pick: Mike Wilkinson via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Ben Alloway vs. Manuel Rodriguez
Ben “Benny Blanco” Alloway is an Australian fighter from Gold Coast, Australia and will be fighting in his hometown. He now trains stateside at the Fiore MMA Gym. Alloway entered the house riding a five-fight winning streak and has a career record of 12-3. Manuel Rodriguez was a member of Team Australia who made it to the semifinals before an injury forced him to withdraw. Rodriguez is a grappling expert who has a career record of 9-3.
Quick Pick: Ben Alloway via Submission in Round One
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Welterweight Bout: Mike Pierce vs. Seth Baczynski
Mike Pierce is a 32-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. The former NCAA Wrestler is a member of the Sports Lab Gym training out of Portland. He holds a career record of 15-5. Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski is a 31-year-old fighter from Honolulu, Hawaii. The former Ultimate Fighter cast member trains out of Power MMA and Fitness in Arizona. He holds a career record of 17-6.
Quick Pick: Mike Pierce via Unanimous Decision
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Light Heavyweight Bout: Igor Pokrajac vs. Joey Beltran
Igor “The Duke” Pokrajac is a 33-year-old Croatian fighter from Zagreb, Croatia. A training partner of Mirko Cro Cop he is a member of the Croatian Top Team and Team Cro Cop Gyms, both located in his native country. He holds a career record of 25-9. Joey “The Mexecutioner” Beltran is a 31-year-old fighter from San Diego, California. He is a member of the Blackline Fight Group and spends his training time at Alliance MMA. He holds a career record of 14-8.
Quick Pick: Igor Pokrajac via Submission in Round Three
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV): Featherweight Bout: Chad Mendes vs. Yaotzin Meza
Chad “Money” Mendes is a 27-year-old American fighter from Hanford, California. He is a member of the Alpha Male Camp, training with Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez. He holds a career record of 12-1 and is a former Featherweight title challenger, suffering his only career loss to UFC Champion Jose Aldo. Yaotzin Meza is a fighter from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a member of the MMA Lab in Arizona, who is taking this bout as a late replacement for Hacran Dias. He holds a career record of 18-7, with most bouts being in regional promotions.
Quick Pick: Chad Mendes via KO in Round One
Main Card (FX): Middleweight Bout: Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares
Hector “Shango” Lombard is a 34-year-old Australian fighter that was born in Cuba. He is a former Olympic Judoka who now trains MMA out of the American Top Team Gym in Coconut Creek, Florida. Lombard is a former Bellator Fighting Championships Middleweight Champion. Lombard holds a black belt in Judo and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Despite his impressive grappling background, Lombard has a excellent striking skills and packs big power in both of his hands. He holds a career record of 31-3.
Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares is a 32-year-old Brazilian fighter. He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who is extremely stocky and powerful. Although a strong and tough fighter with impressive leg locks, he is almost more known for his strange in-fight behavior that has plagued him throughout his career. He is a member of the Brazilian Top Team training out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Palhares holds a career record of 14-4.
Analysis and Prediction: This one should likely come down to who is the better striker and in my opinion that is Lombard. He’s bigger and taller, so he should be able to exploit his reach advantage. On the ground Palhares is very dangerous, but if you’re able to keep him away from your legs, you’re likely going to be able to stay safe. With a background in Judo, Lombard isn’t a complete lost cause on the mat, he’d just prefer to strike it out. I think Palhares gets tagged a few times on the feet, before he looks for a takedown and eats a big shot on his way in. Hector Lombard via TKO in Round Two
Main Card (FX): TUF: Smashes Lightweight Final Bout: Colin Fletcher vs. Norman Parke
Colin “The Freakshow” Fletcher is a 29-year-old fighter from Sunderland, England. A former Welterweight fighter standing 6’3”, Fletcher is very large for a Lightweight fighter. Fletcher is a talented grappler who has 7 of his 8 career victories via submission. The lanky Englishman trains out of the FightPit MMA Academy in Sunderland. Fletcher holds a career record of 8-1.
“Stormin’” Norman Parke is a 25-year-old fighter from Northern Ireland. Parke is a member of the Next Generation Northern Ireland in Bushmills, Antrim, Northern Ireland. When Parke makes his debut he will be the first UFC fighter from the UK who isn’t from England. Parke is also a member of Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu. He comes from a Judo background, but also has experience as an Irish Freestyle Wrestling Champion. Because of Parke’s judo and wrestling backgrounds he has excellent trips, takedowns and judo throws. He holds a career record of 16-2.
Analysis and Prediction: I actually think the clown shtick is hilarious from Fletcher. He is a large Lightweight fighter and undoubtedly talented on the ground. Parke however is an extremely talented wrestler, who should be able to control the action on the mat. His striking on the show looked a bit stiff at times so his biggest issue is probably going to be closing the distance against the larger fighter. If Fletcher can keep his distance and work from a strong jab, he should be able to find a spot to latch onto Parke’s neck as he comes in. Colin Fletcher via Submission in Round Two
Main Card (FX): TUF: Smashes Welterweight Final Bout: Robert Whittaker vs. Brad Scott
Robert Whittaker is a 21-year-old Australian fighter who fights out of Menai, New South Wales. Whittaker is a veteran of the Australian promotion Cage Fighting Championships. Whittaker is a Hapkido based fighter, who began training MMA nearly out of necessity when his home gym switched from Hapkido to MMA. Whittaker is a member of the PMA Super Martial Arts Gym in New South Wales. Whittaker is a finisher, who holds a career record of 9-2 who has finished all nine of his victories.
Brad Scott is a 23-year-old fighter from Somerset, England. At 6’1” he will enjoy a slight height and reach advantage coming into this bout. Scott is a member of the Dragon’s Lair Gym and Trojan Freefighters Gym in Melksham, Wiltshire, England. Scott is a talented striker who has big power in his strikers, although he failed to deliver that power on the reality show. On the ground Scott has shown a knack for being able to transition to his opponent’s back and searching out a Rear Naked Choke. Scott holds a career record of 8-1 and has finished all of the fights in his career.
Analysis and Prediction: Scott has looked very dominant in his bouts in Europe before his time on the show, but he didn’t look nearly as impressive on the show. Whittaker on the other hand was like a wrecking ball, stopping both of his opponents in the first round on the way to the finals. Whittaker is a talented striker with serious stopping power and he’s on a roll. That’s enough to make me think he takes the TUF title here. Robert Whittaker via TKO in Round One
Main Card (FX): Lightweight Bout: George Sotiropoulos vs. Ross Pearson
George “G-Sot” Sotiropoulos is a 35-year-old Australian fighter who served as the coach of Team Australia. Sotiropoulos himself was a former cast member on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Despite being Australian, he now trains in the USA at the American Top Team Gym in Vancouver, Washington. Sotiropoulos is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and does his best work on the mat. Sotiropoulos was on quite a roll in the ultra-competitive Lightweight division, but has suffered back-to-back losses in his last two bouts. He holds a career record of 14-4, with 8 submission victories.
[adinserter block=”2″]Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson is a 28-year-old fighter from Sunderland, England. Serving as the head coach of Team England, Pearson is also best known as the Lightweight winner of the UK vs. USA season of The Ultimate Fighter. Pearson also now trains stateside as a member of The Alliance in Chula Vista, California. Pearson is a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and a brown belt in Judo. Pearson is returning to the Lightweight division after a stint at Featherweight. Pearson holds a career record of 13-6.
Analysis and Prediction: In my opinion Pearson is the more talented fighter, he’s also significantly younger. Sotiropoulos hasn’t fought in over 18 months, and his last loss was a devastating knockout, in that time Pearson has had three bouts, albeit with less than impressive results. Still he’s the more talented striker and a better volume striker. Sotiropoulos has a strong one-two lead combination, but has been tagged getting overconfident in the past.
Still Sotiropoulos is the more talented grappler and if he can wrestle the Brit to the ground, he stands a decent chance of creating a submission out of a scramble. Still, taking Pearson to the ground isn’t an easy task. Still Pearson’s biggest struggles have come against strikers who can outwork him in the stand up department. I don’t think Sotiropoulos fits that bill. The good news for him is that Pearson isn’t a finisher, in fact you have to go all the way back to 2009 to see his last victory via stoppage, which should give G-Sot a lot of time to find an opening. If Pearson’s gas tank isn’t up to snuff, which he’s struggled with in the past, it’s likely he gets caught in something on the ground. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!! George Sotiropoulos via Submission in Round Three
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