The UFC hosted an action-packed weekend and while both cards were somewhat lacking in big name talent, the fight cards themselves truly delivered. On Friday night the UFC brought UFC on FX 6 as the finale to The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, the international version of their reality show that pitted fighters from the United Kingdom against fighters from Australia. Lightweight coaches Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos squared off in the main event of the evening.
UFC on FX 6: Pearson vs. Sotiropoulos
Hector Lombard needed an impressive showing after his less than stellar UFC debut, after entering with a lot of hype. He did quite a bit to get his hype train back on the rails in this one, as he moved forward fearlessly against Palhares and eventually dropped the Brazilian with big punching combinations 3 minutes into the contest and Palhares was never able to get back into the bout.
What’s next for Lombard? He’s done a bit to renew some of the shine that was on him when he entered the UFC from being the Bellator Middleweight Champion. He’s a bit small for the division and I still think he might struggle against some of the upper-tier fighters in Middleweight, but I still think he deserves a big fight in his next one. The winner of the Middleweight contest between Karlos Vemola and Chris Leben might make sense, but so might the winner of the Alan Belcher versus Yushin Okami.
What’s next for Palhares? His stock has definitely taken a hit as he struggled in his last few bouts. Still he’s a dangerous match up for a lot of fighters, even if he is a bit of a head case at times. He should probably take on a middle of the road type of fighter. The loser of the Chris Leben versus Karlos Vemola fight probably makes the most sense.
Lightweight Bout: Norman Parke defeated Colin Fletcher via Unanimous Decision to win TUF: The Smashes at Lightweight
Fletcher was the taller fighter, but he was never really able to use his length to his advantage. Parke continually crowded Fletcher, despite the crowd clearly being in ‘The Freakshow’s’ corner. Parke controlled the action nearly everywhere the fight took place and took home the easy decision victory via scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
What’s next for Parke? It’ll be interesting to see how they treat Parke coming into his next fight. Usually they get decent names, but fairly winnable match-ups, although lately they have gotten a few tougher match-ups coming right off the show. As a UK fighter, he’ll probably get a tune-up fight at the upcoming card in the UK. A bout against someone like a Strikeforce fighter coming into the UFC would make sense. Maybe KJ Noons or Jorge Masvidal?
What’s next for Fletcher? He didn’t really look all that great, but he’s pretty entertaining and he’s got a pretty loyal following in Australia. He’s probably never going to be an upper-tier fighter in the UFC and he’s probably got only a slim chance of staying employed past his next fight, since he’s in the UFC’s toughest division and there’s not a whole lot of easy fights. Maybe Marcus LeVesseur in a loser leaves the promotion type of fight.
Welterweight Bout: Robert Whittaker defeated Brad Scott via Unanimous Decision to win TUF: The Smashes at Welterweight
Scott did his best to make this fight ugly, trying to get inside and work on Whittaker as often as possible. This was a very close bout, as each fighter found success in each round. Whittaker was the more active counter-striker throughout the whole bout and that proved to be one of the deciding factors for the judges. Whittaker ended up taking the first and third on every judge’s card and winning the unanimous decision 29-28 across the board.
What’s next for Whittaker? Like Parke, he’s in an interesting situation. His division isn’t as deep as Lightweight, but there’s not a lot of easy match ups at the bottom and he’ll need to be brought along slowly. Finding a fighter who recently won at 170 and would be a good match for Whittaker might be tough. Sergio Moraes is coming off of TUF: Brazil. That fight makes some sense.
What’s next for Scott? Scott didn’t look too bad and stole a round on every judge’s card for this fight. Finding a fighter that’s suitable to his level coming off of a loss is probably going to be an easier task. Besam Yousef is coming off a submission loss and could be an ideal match up for Scott.
Lightweight Bout: Ross Pearson defeated George Sotiropoulos via TKO (Punches) in Round 3 – 0:41
What’s next for Pearson? A lot of this depends on what Pearson plans to do for his next bout. He was fighting at Featherweight before signing up to coach the show. If he chooses to stay at Lightweight a bout against someone like John Makdessi or Ramsey Nijem make sense. If he chooses to go back to Featherweight the winner of the bout between Hatsu Hioki and Clay Guida would be a good test to reclaim his standing in the division.
What’s next for Sotiropoulos? Retirement, hopefully. He was off for nearly two years because of injuries and at 35-years-old he’s not exactly in the prime of his career anymore. If he chooses to keep going he’s going to need to take a step down in competition. Sam Stout recently lost a bout and is looking to rebound. It would give Sotiropoulos the chance to show that he’s not a hopeless fish out of water when facing competent strikers.
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