Two talented young welterweights competed with a six figure contract on the line last night (Dec. 14, 2012) as Robert Whittaker battled Brad Scott in the welterweight finale of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) The Smashes in the co-main event of UFC on FX 6 from Gold Coast, Australia.
Whittaker had built a scary reputation on the show, smashing all of his opponents via first round knockout while Scott had been much more workmanlike earning two decisions.
Early on, Scott tried to neutralize Whittaker's striking by pressuring him in the clinch, but Whittaker could not be held at bay for long, countering effectively once he found separation and exploding forward with blitzes of offense which included head kicks, flurries of punches and leg kicks.
The second big blitz from Whittaker put Scott on his back after the fourth and fifth punches in his combination finally broke through the Team UK fighter's defenses. Whittaker poured it on but couldn't put the durable Scott away.
Round two was more of the same as Whittaker shut down Scott's clinch offense and got back to work with his striking, but getting a bit overzealous cost him the round as the Aussie was put on the canvas via a slick trip from Scott and immediately was controlled on the ground. Scott worked hard to take Whittaker's back and attack with potential submissions but the second he released his hook, the Team Sotiropoulos fighter exploded back to his feet. Scott kept the pressure on Whittaker with good combinations after backing his opponent into the fence.
In the third round, Whittaker dug deep and gave it everything he had, attacking constantly with his lead left hook, head kicks and those quick occasional blitzes of strikes. Whittaker's right uppercut was used successfully to counter Scott's forward aggression and he mixed in some knees while avoiding takedown and clinch attempts from the Brit. Whittaker's right hand may have been injured because he started throwing his right elbow as a lead attack regularly this round and actually connected with it pretty often, opening up a nice cut on Scott's forehead before both men slugged it out to the final bell.
In the end, the judges sided with Whittaker unanimously, giving him the first and third rounds while Scott took the second.
For Brad Scott, he put up a much better fight than most expected. He showcased tremendous heart, surviving Whittaker's onslaught of offense while landing some occasional counters and trying to neutralize the attack with his clinch and ground work. His trip was terrific in the second round but he never went back to it and that was his undoing. He was game on the feet with Whittaker, but outclassed in overall technical ability and in diversity of his attack. He only really had his left hook while Whittaker could blast away with heavy blows from all sorts of crazy directions.
For Robert Whittaker, this was a very exciting debut. He showcased some tremendous striking ability with some sharp counter left hooks, head kicks, elbows and those beautiful blitzes. What may have been the most impressive was his endurance. He was able to keep up a high pace for three full rounds after failing to leave the first round on the show. He's got some raw natural power which could cause people problems, although his deficiencies on the canvas will likely catch up to him if he doesn't improve. Also, his striking, while very entertaining, was sloppy at times and he'll need to get a bit more technical or he'll leave himself open to counter attack against superior opposition during those forward rushes he likes so much. That being said, he's definitely a young prospect to keep your eyes on if he continues to grow.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did Whittaker impress you with his striking prowess and endurance? How far do you think the Aussie can make it in the UFC?