On a night (Dec. 14, 2012) where history was made in Australia for UFC on FX 6 and the fans who showed up for the early AM show were rewarded with tremendous fight after tremendous fight as well as some vicious knockouts, someone had to give them a chance to catch their breath, perhaps get some refreshments or visit the facilities.
Those people were Norman Parke and Colin Fletcher in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Smashes lightweight final.
It wasn't a tremendous surprise either. Parke had utilized his wrestling to grind out decisions all the way to the finals while Fletcher was far too long and lanky to be able to stifle any of his attempts.
Parke made no bones about his strategy early on, initiating a clinch following the first strike he threw, eventually pushing Fletcher into the fence and dragging him to the canvas. Park was able to dominate positionallly while Fletcher attempted to be active off his back.
Park dominated the first round all the way until the final 30 seconds when an ambitious attempt to take Fletcher's back backfired and Fletcher finished the round in side control, but it wasn't nearly enough to win back the round.
The second was more of the same as Parke, realizing he could take Fletcher down at will, opened up a bit more with his striking on the feet, throwing a few combinations before dragging Fletcher to the canvas yet again.
In the final frame, Parke threw Fletcher for a loop by keeping the bout on its feet for the first four minutes. With the fear of the takedown in the back of his mind, Fletcher couldn't open up as much as he would have liked and Parke was able to control the stand-up portion with consistent offense and repeated hooks to the head which bloodied up the lanky fighter.
Just for good measure, Parke sealed the deal with a takedown in the final minute, which earned him a unanimous decision nod from the judges.
For Colin Fletcher, if you can't stop yourself from being put on the canvas, you're going to have a rough night. He simply didn't have the defensive wrestling ability to handle Parke's aggressive offensive grappling and once the fight was on the ground, he didn't have the submissions to threaten a finish or the ability to get back to his feet. That's a bad combination. Once the takedowns were stuck in the back of his mind, Fletcher couldn't even get much going in the stand-up knowing that if he overcommitted to anything, he'd be put right back on the canvas. His kicks were decent, but he couldn't go high with them or he'd be taken down.
If Fletcher is given another shot in the UFC, potential opponents include Henry Martinez, Renee Forte or perhaps C.J. Keith.
For Norman Parke, he did exactly what he needed to do to win. He took advantage of Fletcher's weaknesses in terms of grappling defense and utilized his solid offensive wrestling to dominate the fight positionally. He kept the threat of a takedown in the back of "Freakshow's" mind at all times and was actually pretty aggressive on the feet in the final round, outstriking his castmate pretty easily. It was one-way traffic and having that ability to control where the fight takes place works wonders.
Parke should face someone who will push him in his next fight like Darren Cruickshank, Rafaello Oliveira or perhaps John Makdessi.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Did Parke's offensive control on the feet and on the ground impress you? Did anyone else notice that Parke looked like a UK version of War Machine?
For complete UFC on FX 6 results, including blow-by-blow, fight-by-fight coverage of the entire event as well as immediate post-fight reaction click here, here and here.