Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last night (Dec. 14, 2012) put on its first of two events this weekend, this one taking place at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
UFC on FX 6: "Smashes," an average card on paper, resulted in a fairly exciting event "down under" as five of the 10 bouts in the card ended via (T)KO.
Ross Pearson led the charge in the main event of the evening, knocking George Sotiropoulos all over the Octagon before he finally earned a third-round stoppage due to strikes.
Coming into the fight, the most likely path to victory for Pearson was to avoid the slick ground game of Sotiropoulos and keep the fight in his world on the feet. He did just that as nearly the entire fight stayed standing where Pearson dominated every aspect of the action.
Crisp combinations and pinpoint accuracy was the name of the game for the Brit, and the left hook worked especially well for him in the fight, as "G-Sots" was floored several times by the technique.
It was extremely disappointing to see Sotiropoulos' lack of takedown attempts after he was clearly on the losing end of every round. He may have been out of it after being wobbled by Pearson early on, but if Sotiropoulos came into the fight with the game plan to stand with the "Real Deal" as much as he did, then he made a serious miscalculation.
Pearson makes a successful return to the lightweight division and undoubtedly has more intriguing fights in store while Sotiropoulos drops to 0-3 in his last three UFC bouts, leaving his future very much in question.
The co-main event saw Robert Whittaker defeat Bradley Scott in a narrow decision to win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Australia vs. UK welterweight final. The two men battered each other to a bloody pulp for three rounds in one of the best TUF finals in recent memory.
Whittaker was clearly ahead after the opening frame due to a knockdown and the Australian looked well on was on his way to a one-sided victory. In the second round, though, Scott proved he wouldn't go away as he rallied back to take the middle stanza.
The third round was the decider, and Whittaker simply showed he wanted it more. With a clearly injured hand and foot, Whittaker pressed forward and won the final round, giving him a 29-28 decision victory on all three judges' scorecards.
Whittaker showed he is capable of putting on exciting fights, which the UFC always needs, but at this point, it's reaching to peg his future in the UFC as anything more than a middle-of-the-pack fighter at 170 pounds.
Let's give credit where it's due, Parke completely neutralized Fletcher's game for enough of their 15-minute clash to earn a unanimous decision from the judges' sitting cageside.
Parke displayed solid fight IQ over the course of the three-round bout, avoiding Fletcher's submission attempts while patiently waiting for his time to implement his offense, which mostly comprised of takedown attempts and counter-strikes.
Much like fellow TUF: "Smashes" winner Whittaker, Parke is a solid talent but may have trouble etching himself a lasting spot in a crowded weight class.
For a lot of fans, the match up between "Lightning" and "Toquinho" was the true main event last night, and it's only suitable that the middleweight affair was the highlight of the main card.
Many viewed Palhares as a sacrificial lamb for Lombard coming into the fight, and while that may not be true from the UFC's perspective, that's exactly how it looked from the second the bout began.
Aside from a few solid leg kicks, Palhares mounted no offense in the fight. Lombard kept the Brazilian on his heels by keeping control of the center of the cage, stalking Palhares and waiting for his time to pounce.
That time came at the 3:38 mark of round one when Lombard hurt Palhares with a right hand and followed up with his trademark finish abilities that have led him to 19 career (T)KO victories.
Lombard fell out of the middleweight contender talks when he lost a split decision to Tim Boetsch in his Octagon debut last July; however, the Cuban put himself back in the thick of things with the highlight-reel knockout.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss6: "Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson" in the comments section below.
Did Ross Pearson's performance excite for his future in the lightweight division? How big of a future do the most recent TUF winners have? Are you now a believer in Hector Lombard?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC on FX 6 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson" event right here.