You know, I won’t bother asking here. Props: Cagewall.com
You probably noticed this, but we usually lead off weekend coverage with event aftermath articles – especially the day after a UFC event. Today, not only did we lead off with a story about Cro Cop playing basketball, but honestly, we considered not writing an aftermath at all for this card. With nothing significant on the line, a total lack of Bruce Buffer and no especially memorable finishes, it’s hard to really say too much about last night’s UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson.
In the main event, Ross Pearson looked good in his return to lightweight. His boxing proved to be too much for Sotiropoulos throughout the fight, as Pearson eventually scored the TKO in round three. Not a bad fight by any means, but not especially memorable, either. Sotiropoulos has now lost three straight, with his last victory being a submission over Joe Lauzon back in 2010. And Pearson? Well, he won. I was going to write that he reestablished his place in the lightweight division, but he was never more than a mid-tier fighter in arguably the UFC’s deepest talent pool in the first place.
This concern over the lack of significance in the division leads directly into the TUF Smashes finals. I’m not saying that the Smashes winners Norman Parke and Robert Whittaker looked bad last night, as they didn’t. Nor will I say that their fights were boring to sit through – I actually think Whittaker vs. Scott deserved Fight of the Night honors. Rather, I simply don’t see either fighter having any sort of relevant future in the UFC.
As mentioned earlier, the lightweight division is simply too deep for Norman Parke to make any sort of meaningful impact at this stage in his career. He’ll enjoy the mandatory post-TUF tomato can, but with the division being so competitive, the honeymoon phase won’t last. While Colin Fletcher may have been too busy looking for some new, terrifying shades of clown make-up to learn how to sprawl, the rest of the lightweight division won’t be taken down as easily. Likewise, the welterweight division may not be as stacked, but it’s certainly top-heavy enough to prevent Robert Whittaker from gaining immediate relevance.
In other words, don’t let the ”UFC on FX” label fool you. Last night’s card was very much a TUF Finale, and produced exactly what you would expect a TUF Finale to produce: Not much.
Perhaps the most relevant fight of the night kicked off the show, as Hector Lombard made a quick, brutal example out of Rousimar Palhares. The fight was everything we expected out of Lombard when he signed with the UFC - he was aggressive, he landed hard punches seemingly at will and was never in any real danger of losing this fight (or his ACL). The victory doesn’t entirely make up for his abysmal UFC debut, but it prevents him from being a total bust signing. He called out Bisping in the post-fight interview, but we’ll have to wait and see how Bisping fairs against Vitor Belfort before attempting to set that one up.
As for Paul Harris, I hate to say it, but the loss makes the Brazilian the scariest looking jobber on the UFC roster. His “heel hook anything standing in front of me” strategy may work against the lower end of the midleweight division, but against the more diverse, more talented middleweights, he’s clearly out of his league. I don’t see Palhares getting cut, but perennial undercard fighter isn’t too much better of a position to be in.
Fight of the Night went to Nick Penner vs. Cody Donovan, while Knockout of the Night went to Ben Alloway for his first round knockout over Manuel Rodriguez.
Ross Pearson def. George Sotiropoulos via TKO, 0:41 of Round Three
Robert Whittaker def. Brad Scott via unanimous decision
Norman Parke def. Colin Fletcher via unanimous decision
Hector Lombard def. Rousimar Palhares via KO, 3:38 of Round One
Chad Mendes def. Yaotzen Meza via TKO, 1:55 of Round One
Joey Beltran def. Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision
Mike Pierce def. Seth Baczynski via unanimous decision
Ben Alloway def. Manuel Rodriguez via KO, 4:57 of Round One
Mike Wilkinson def. Brendan Loughnane via unanimous decision
Cody Donovan def. Nick Penner via TKO, 4:35 of Round One