Your Guide to TUF Smashes Finale

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Commentary/Opinion, UFC Events
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The second international version of the Ultimate Fighter is having its finale tonight on FX and you’re probably thinking, “Who the hell are these guys?” Well have no fear cause Jim Gramm is here to guide you through who is fighting on this card.

Four fights will be shown on FX as part of the main card, with three of them being involved with the reality show. The non-TUF related fight on the main card is a key bout at 185 as Hector Lombard takes on Rousimar Palhares. Since this fight was already previewed, I will stick to talking about the matches involving the show.

TUF Smashes ran along TUF on FX here in the US and featured 8 lightweight and 8 welterweight fighters from the United Kingdom and Australia. This version of TUF is the second to have a country vs country theme. After 12 weeks of competition, three fighters for the UK and one for Australia make their way into the finals for a six-figure UFC contract.

Starting with lightweights, a pair of UK fighters will face off against each other in Norman Parke and Colin Fletcher. Parke who is only 25 years old, entered the house with a record of 16-2 making him the most experienced fighter in the competition. “Stormin’” Norman Parke features very well-rounded skills which have carried him to a pair of decision victories over Richie Vaculik and teammate Brendan Loughnane to advance to the final round.

Better known as the “Freakshow,” Colin Fletcher is one of tallest lightweights I have ever seen. At 6′ 2” he is a tough match-up for anyone in the UFC. Bizarre antics aside, Fletcher has some serious skills especially in the grappling department as he entered the competition with 7 of 8 career victories by submission. “Freakshow” used his superior size, reach and grappling skills to defeat Ben Wall and submit Richie Vaculik, both of team Australia to advance to the finals.

In the welterweight final, the lone Aussie Robert Whittaker takes on Brad Scott from the UK. Out of the four finalists, Whittaker in my opinion has had the most impressive tournament run. In both the quarter and semi-final rounds, Whittaker beat the UK’s Luke Newman and teammate Xavier Lucas in the first round by KO.

Unlike his adversary, Scott has shown a workman like approach to fighting beating Australians Xavier Lucas and Ben Alloway by decision. Even though he hasn’t shown much in the way of finishing skills, Scott is a very big welterweight who just keeps on coming.

In the main event, the two coaches on this season of TUF will square-off at 155. Amidst rumors of having coaches that were not from the UK or Australia, the UFC stuck with the country vs country aspect of the show and chose Ross Pearson for the UK and George Sotiropoulos for Australia as the two coaches.

Ross Pearson, who has fought his last two fights at featherweight will be moving up to lightweight to represent his country in the main event. “The Real Deal” who won season 9 of TUF as member of the first team UK has compiled an overall record of 5-3 in the UFC. After going 4-2 at lightweight, Pearson moved down to 145 where he has gone 1-1 since the change in August of last year.

Pearson’s opponent in the main event is George Sotiropoulos. No stranger to TUF, he made it into the semi-finals in season 6 of the reality show. After rattling off 7 straight victories to start his UFC career, George has lost his last two fights while battling injuries that have kept him out of competition since February of last year.

Looking over the three fights, I see Parke and Whittaker winning the UFC contracts with George winning the battle of the coaches. Despite the height and reach advantage Fletcher will have over Parke, I think Norman is just to well-rounded for the “Freakshow.” However, I do expect this fight to be close and go all three rounds. For the welterweights, Scott may be able to use his size and wear down Whittaker but I think the KO power of the Aussie will be too much for Scott to overcome. With jumping up a weight class, Pearson will have a hard time keeping the much bigger Sotiropoulos from taking him down and potentially submitting him.

Hopefully knowing a little bit about the gentlemen fighting in Queensland, Australia on Friday night will make what should be a great night of fights more enjoyable.

Follow me on Twitter @jimgramm

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