TUF Australia kicked off this week and looks to be a phenomenal season and full of great fighters from the local circuits in Australia and the United Kingdom. The unique thing about the coaches in this season is that both coaches came into the UFC through the TUF program.
Team UK is led by Ross Pearson and his coaches Dean Amasinger (Nutrition/Strength&Conditioning/MMA), Jimmy Harbison (BJJ), Jason Soares (Grappling/Wrestling) and Erin Beach (Striking). Team Aussie is led by George Sotiropoulos and his staff Nick Kara (Muay Thai/Kickboxing/Boxing), Charles Blanchard (Wrestling/BJJ), Leonard Gabriel Jr. (Boxing), Nathan Coy (Wrestling). Each team consists of four welterweights and four lightweights.
Team United Kingdom(UK):
Colin “The FreakShow” Fletcher 29, Sunderland, LW
Mike Wilkinson 24, Leigh, LW
“Stormin” Norman Parke 25, Bushmills Nth Ireland, LW
Michael Pastou 30, Essex, LW
Valentino “Batista” Petrescu 30, Essex, WW
Luke Newman 29, London, WW
Bola Omoyele 30, London, WW
Brad Scott 23, Melksham, WW
Richie “Vas” Vaculik 29, Sydney, LW
Patrick Iodice 19, GoldCoast, LW
Grant “Bull Ant” Blackler 23, Sunshine Coast, LW
Ben “Manimal” Wall 31, Brisbane, LW
Robert Whittaker 21, Sydney, WW
Manny Rodriguez 27, Sydney, WW
Benny “Blanco” Alloway 31, GoldCoast, WW
Xavier Lucas 31, Perth, WW
The coin toss to start the season would determine who would pick the first weight class to fight and who would pick the first fight in that weight class. Dana flipped the coin, which had a picture of the queen on one side and a Kangaroo on the other. Team Aussie won the coin toss and selected to choose the first fight in the welterweight division that Pearson had chosen to go first.
We finally got too look inside the training for TUFSmashes. In the opening session for Team Aussie focused more on laying the groundwork for how they would train this season and getting a feel for training with new guys. Team UK wasted little time getting in there and banging. In their first session they were doing some full bore sparring. Pearson wanted them to remember they were there to fight.
The injury bug that has been running roughshod over the UFC the last 6 months reared its ugly head in the second training session for Team UK. During the session Michael Pastou ruptured his bicep during some sparring. This injury is significant enough to make him ineligible to fight. The decision as to whether he would stay in the house has not come down. Pastou was seen as one of the favorites on Team UK in the LW division.
It was finally fight announcement time and Sotiropoulos chose Benny “Blanco” Alloway from Team Aussie to face Valentine “Battista” Petrescu. These are two of the more seasoned guys on this season with Alloway holding a 12-3 record while Petrescu is 12-2. Both guys are getting up in age and do not have a lot of fight time left in their bodies, so will be interesting to see how this fight plays out.
Round 1: Petrescu vs Alloway:
Slow start then a body kick by Alloway which is partially blocked, Petrescu answers back with a leg kick. Petrescu quickly esablishes his range and is picking Alloway apart. Alloway tries to clinch, but Petrescu shrugs him off. High kick from Alloway is blocked. Alloway keeps initiating the clinch, but Petrescu is overpowering him early. Stalled up against the cage through the middle of the round. Alloway tries an outside trip and misses, Petrescu throws a body kick that is caught and Alloway is able to get the trip. Petrescu establishes a closed guard and is stalling the action. Alloway with some pitter patter punches, which allow Petrescu to start working an armbar which he locks on, but does not lock it up. Easily a 10-9 round for Petrescu.
Petrescu comes out with a leg kick to open the second stanza, Alloway throws a head kick and eats a straight right hand in the process. Some dancing around Alloway lands a vicious left hook that has Petrescu doing the stanky leg, follows that up with another short left hook that drops Petrescu and it is a matter of how many punches does this referee need to see before stepping in to save Valentino from receiving some unnecessary damage.
Winner of the first fight on TUF Australia is Benny “Blanco” Alloway via 2nd round TKO.
Remember to tune in next Wednesday as TUF Smashes takes us on a lil trip through the local MMA of Australia and the United Kingdom. I look forward to discussing one of my favorite British fighters as the season progresses, Colin “The FreakShow” Fletcher. There seems to be some great personalities this season which was a big part of the allure of TUF Brasil.