- TUF Smashes Finale
Pearson powers past Sotiropoulos but Scott beaten
Ross Pearson waited several months to get his hands on George Sotiropoulos, but when his chance finally arrived he made the most of it - stopping the Australian to silence the home fans at the TUF Smashes Finale.
Pearson said he had never entered a fight carrying so much emotion into the Octagon, after months of aggravation from Sotiropoulos had got the Brit's blood boiling. He certainly fought angry, dropping his man in all three rounds, eventually stopping the Australian 41 seconds into the third.
In a classic style collision, it was the kickboxing talent of Pearson against the slick ground skills of Sotiropoulos, but crucially the latter only once managed to take the fight into his territory.
Pearson looked calculated, far more measured than in his last fight against Cub Swanson, and he dropped his foe with a left in the first. However, Sotiropoulos' recovery powers are superb, and it was he threatening by the klaxon as he took the Brit's back and looked for the rear naked choke.
Sotiropoulos tried again for a takedown in the second but Pearson fought with caution, keeping the fight standing before dropping his man again. The better leg kicks, hooks and potentially fight-ending shots were coming from the Brit, although Sotiropoulos worked the jab effectively.
As the third started Sotiropoulos had already gone for a dance on more than one occasion, and Pearson put together a sublime combination to end it. An uppercut was followed by a slamming hook that slapped Sotiropoulos to the mat, and the follow-up blows from Pearson were barely necessary.
"This fight's been a long time in the making; we started filming in June," Pearson said. "I went back to San Diego and prepared. I was just patient, and I knew the shots I wanted to land. I said all along I just need to touch him - and not be the bull like I normally am. I had to pick my shots and make him miss and see what opened."
In the welterweight final, Robert Whittaker claimed the UFC contract after a three-round war with England's Brad Scott, who surely cemented his own future with the company. Whittaker floored his rival in the first and was more explosive throughout, but Scott showed there is more than just a passing likeness to Forrest Griffin, winning the second round and battling right to the final klaxon in an excellent fight.
The lightweight final was won by Northern Ireland's Norman Parke, who controlled Colin Fletcher for a comfortable unanimous 30-27, 30-27 29-28 decision win. Parke took it to the ground and maintained top position for most of the opening two stanzas, and he even landed the harder shots in the stand-up in an impressive victory.
Elsewhere, Hector Lombard earned his first UFC win with victory over Rousimar Palhares. Lombard had already dropped Palhares once before he crumpled the Brazilian again for a first-round stoppage.
TUF Smashes Finale results:
Ross Pearson def. George Sotiropoulos via TKO at 0.41 of Round 3
Robert Whittaker def. Brad Scott via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 29-28)
Norman Parke def. Colin Fletcher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 29-28)
Hector Lombard def. Rousimar Palhares via TKO at 3.38 of Round 1
Chad Mendes def. Yaotzin Meza via knockout at 1.55 of Round 1
Joey Beltran def. Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision (30-27 30-27 30-27)
Mike Pierce def. Seth Baczynski via unanimous decision (30-27 29-28 29-28)
Ben Alloway def. Manuel Rodriguez via knockout at 4.57 of Round 1
Mike Wilkinson def. Brendan Loughnane via unanimous decision (29-28 29-28 29-28)
Cody Donovan def. Nick Penner via TKO at 4.35 of Round 1