Monday, 17 December 2012

UFC Sotiropoulos vs Pearson on ESPN - TV Review

Those of you who have read my ramblings for a while will know that I’m not really a fan of reality TV. Out of all of The Ultimate Fighter series I’ve only watched three of them all the way through, and one of them was because I’d been asked to review the DVD release.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like a good scrap, which is why I always try to watch the finals, and this past weekend we were treated to two finals shows, beginning with the Brits taking on the Aussies in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, shown in the early hours of this past Saturday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the middleweight division as Hector Lombard faced Rousimar Palhares.

This one I liked. It began with an exchange of leg kicks before they began moving around the cage looking for an opening. As the round went on Lombard began to take control with his lead right, putting Palhares on his backside.

Although he got back to his feet it was a position that Lombard put him back in a few moments later. Lombard followed him down but Palhares tired him up, letting him up after a few seconds.

It may have been wiser for Palhares to keep him on the ground. Lombard continued to stalk Palhares around the cage, and a left hand rocked Palhares as he slumped to the canvas. Lombard followed him down for a spot of ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give Lombard the TKO win.

Then it was on to the lightweight final, the all-British affair between Colin Fletcher and Norman Parke.

Even though I don’t watch the series I do find it interesting when you see two team mates going up against each other, which was the case with these close friends.

Both fighters went into this one eager to put on a keenly contested encounter, and Park put on a nice display of ground fighting early on. Although Fletcher managed to get back to his feet after the initial trip to the ground it wasn’t long before Parke took control.

Fletcher had slightly more success in the second round, but for a man who had a natural height and reach advantage over his opponent he didn’t seem very intent on using those assets, and as the fight progressed it was Pare who fought as if he was the bigger of the two.

But with no finish in sight the judges were called into action for the first time during the broadcast as Parke took the unanimous decision.

The welterweight final followed as Robert Whittaker took on Bradley Scott.

Now this was a fight, and a damn good one at that. For three rounds the Aussie and the Brit put on a truly riveting contest.

Both fighters had some really big moments in this one. Whittaker’s striking looked top notch in the first round, his “blitz” as the commentator called it causing Scott no end of trouble, and it looked like he was going to get the win there and then.

Scott’s best moments came with some nice ground fighting in the second. At one point the managed to take Whittaker’s back, and although he did a good job of controlling the action he just couldn’t find that rear naked choke he was looking for.

Whittaker came back strongly in the third, and his striking looked even better as he added a few elbows into the mix, opening up a nasty cut on the Brit’s hairline.

But with no finish the judges were called upon once again as Whittaker took the unanimous decision.

The main event featured lightweight action, the battle of the coaches as George Sotiropoulos took on Ross Pearson.

This one featured plenty of great action and it looked like it was going to end quickly when Pearson rocked Sotiropoulos early on. The Aussie managed to weather the storm though, and his rubber legs soon stiffened enough so he could made a comeback which culminated in a rear naked choke attempt at the end of the round.

As the second round began Pearson began to have more and more success in the striking department. An outside leg kick sent Sotiropoulos crashing, and he was on the ground again a few moments later when Pearson rocked him again. Sotiropoulos had his moments, but Pearson was getting better and better as the fight went on.

This was more than evident in the third. Pearson rocked his man in the opening few seconds, and although Sotiropoulos went into survival mode he soon found himself on the ground and on the receiving end of a barrage of blows, with the referee stepping in to give Pearson the TKO win.

In conclusion - the first of my UFC double bill proved to be a highly entertaining affair, and it showed once again that you don’t have to watch an entire Ultimate Fighter series to enjoy the finale.

All of the fights were very good, and the performances of those who made the finals showed that both Britain and Australia have some very talented fighters coming through their respective ranks. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if those who didn’t get the big contracts found themselves on future UFC cars.

As for my fight of the night once again I was spoiled for choice. I did consider giving it to the Pearson/Sotiropoulos main event, but this time around the no-prize goes to the welterweight final between Robert Whittaker and Bradley Scott, although it does pain me a little to give it to a fight where an Aussie beat a Brit!

But with that being said this was a great show, which is why I’m going to give it the big thumbs up.

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