If the performances delivered by 21-year-old Robert Whittaker and 23-year-old Bradley Scott in the Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes welterweight final were any indication, the future of the UFC is in good hands, as the two put on an exciting show at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Gold Coast, Australia, with Whittaker emerging victorious via unanimous decision.
“The contract’s a bonus,” said Team Australia’s Whittaker, who won via three scores of 29-28. “The real joy was defending my country and making everybody proud.”
Team UK’s Scott looked to be the more relaxed of the two to start, as he worked his strikes and locked up with Whittaker against the fence. Nearly two minutes in, Whittaker was able to break free, and he just missed with a looping left. Encouraged by getting that close, the Aussie began letting his hands go a little more, but Scott didn’t back up under the attack. With 1:41 left, a series of shots finally got Scott on the defensive, and a right-left put the Brit on the deck. Scott cleared his head and got back to his feet, and his first course of action was to start swinging away at his heavy-handed foe. It was Whittaker’s fast and accurate shots that left the most lasting impression as the round ended though.
Scott and Whittaker didn’t slow down in round two, but while both got their share of shots in, Whittaker’s had more heat behind them. Scott’s chin was world-class though, and when the two got close, the Melksham prospect scored with some quality punches before taking his opponent down in the midst of a scramble. While on the mat, Scott worked from the back with short strikes until he got his hooks in. Whittaker’s defense allowed him to stay out of trouble and get back to his feet in the final minute, but it was Scott keeping the Sydney product contained until the bell.
Settling back in for the final round, Whittaker opened up with both hands, having success for the most part, but just when it seemed that he was about to take control of the bout, Scott would roar back and land something that got his foe’s attention. But with a series of punches, kicks, and elbows, one that opened a cut on Scott’s forehead closed the show impressively, thrilling the crowd with a TUF final to remember.
With the win, Whittaker improves to 11-2; Scott falls to 9-2.
Watch Whittaker's post-fight interview
PARKE vs. FLETCHER
The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes crowned its first champion in the lightweight division, as Bushmills, Northern Ireland’s Norman Parke decisioned his Team UK squadmate Colin Fletcher over three hard-fought rounds.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Parke.
Parke (18-2) made no secret of his gameplan, as he tied up Fletcher and eventually got him to the mat. Fletcher’s ground defense was solid, and he tried to stay busy from the bottom, but Parke kept the pressure on with ground strikes as he looked to improve position and catch the Sunderland native napping. Fletcher was wide awake though, and he was able to reverse position in the final minute, giving Parke something think about between rounds.
Fletcher (9-2) tried to use his height and reach advantages as the second round commenced, but Parke got inside easily, with another takedown resulting. At the two minute mark, Parke looked for a guillotine choke, but gave it up when he was able to get into the mount position, which soon turned into Fletcher giving up his back. Parke briefly got a rear naked choke, but Fletcher was able to escape and get to his feet. Much of the rest of the round played out on the feet, with Parke still holding an edge thanks to some crisp combinations before he ended the frame by taking his foe down.
After the two friends hugged to begin the final round, Fletcher went on the offensive and Parke met him right back, landing some hard left hands, getting more accurate with each passing punch. Fletcher, now cut over the left eye, kept pressing forward, and he progressively landed more shots, but his strikes had little to no effect on the Northern Irishman, who sealed the deal with two takedowns in the closing minute of the fight.
Watch Parke's post-fight interview
LOMBARD vs. PALHARES
After a disappointing initial outing in the Octagon against Tim Boetsch in July, longtime middleweight contender Hector Lombard showed what all the initial fuss was about in the main card opener, as he scored a crushing first round knockout of Rousimar Palhares in front of fans in his adopted home of Australia.
“All my wins in every single MMA fight goes to Australia,” said Lombard, who lived in Australia for 12 years after competing in the 2000 Sydney Games as a member of the Cuban Olympic judo team.
Looking like mirror images of each other, Lombard and Palhares met in the center of the Octagon, trying to deliver fight-altering shots from the start. Palhares tried to keep Lombard at bay with leg kicks while Lombard was looking for the home run with each punch. Two minutes in, Lombard began landing, and his forward pressure put Palhares on the run. Midway through the stanza, a 1-2 sent Palhares to the mat, but the Brazilian, bleeding over his left eye held on and cleared his head, prompting a restart. Once the bout was standing again, Lombard didn’t let Palhares off the hook, with rights and lefts sending “Toquinho” back to the canvas. The ensuing punches knocked Palhares out, with referee Marc Goddard intervening at the 3:38 mark.
With the win, Lombard ups his record to 32-3-1 with 1 NC; Palhares falls to 23-5.
Watch Lombard's post-fight interview
Whittaker, Parke are the Newest Ultimate Fighters - UFC on FX 6 Main Card Results
By Thomas Gerbasi December 14, 2012