The Ultimate Fighter coaches George Sotiropoulos and Ross Pearson will meet in the main event of UFC on FX 6 as the organization makes its return to Australia.
Sotiropoulos and Pearson have been coaching against one another in an international version of the UFC's traditional reality show/competition and will get the opportunity to earn bragging rights inside the cage. After coaching against one another throughout the show, there's sure to be some intensity in the bout.
There's plenty of other action outside of the five-round main event between Sotiropoulos and Pearson. The card also boasts two finals fights from The Ultimate Fighter and an interesting middleweight clash between Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares.
Where: Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Queensland, Australia
When: Friday, December 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Preliminary fights on Fuel TV at 6 p.m. ET. Main Card fights on FX at 9 p.m. ET
Main Card (FX)
Lightweight Bout: Ross Pearson vs. George Sotiropoulis
Welterweight Tournament Final: Brad Scott vs. Robert Whittaker
Lightweight Tournament Final: Colin Fletcher vs. Norman Parke
Middleweight Bout: Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares
Preliminary Card (Fuel TV)
Featherweight Bout: Chad Mendes vs. Yaotzin Meza
Light Heavyweight Bout: Joey Beltran vs. Igor Pokrajac
Welterweight Bout: Seth Baczynski vs. Mike Pierce
Welterweight Bout: Ben Alloway vs. Manuel Rodriguez
Lightweight Bout: Brendan Loughnane vs. Mike Wilkinson
Light Heavyweight Bout: Cody Donovan vs. Nick Penner
Sotiropoulos' Keys to Victory
Sotiropoulos needs to get this fight to the ground as early as possible and ensure that it stays there.
The Australian is an excellent grappler with eight submission victories to his name but has been beaten in his last two bouts because he couldn't get the fight to the ground. Pearson is a dangerous opponent in the stand-up game and has power to end Sotiropoulos' night early with a knockout.
If Sotiropoulos can close distance and score takedowns from the clinch, he'll need to be aggressive in looking for the submission. Kimuras and armbars have been his bread and butter before; he would be wise to try them again.
The ground game is definitely Sotiropoulos' greatest strength. Trading blows with Pearson is not where he wants to be.
Pearson's Keys to Victory
Pearson must defend takedowns and turn this fight into a kickboxing match.
Sotiropoulos will want to close the distance, so Pearson would be wise to stay on the outside and pick his opponent apart with jabs and leg kicks.
This is a five-round fight, so Pearson doesn't need to go for the knockout early; he can pick his spots and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Wild flurries could result in a takedown. While Pearson's ground game isn't awful, it's certainly not on the same level as Sotiropoulos'.
If Pearson controls the pace and spacing in this fight, he wins.
What They Are Saying
Although this isn't necessarily a "big name" fight, there's been plenty of buildup thanks to the nature of The Ultimate Fighter.
After spending weeks together on the show, these two guys don't really like each other. Ross Pearson recently sat down with The Ultimate Show to talk about his fight with Sotiropoulos and his return to the lightweight division where he promises to rebound from a not-so-successful attempt to fight at 145 pounds.
Undercard Fight to Watch: Hector Lombard vs. Rousimar Palhares
Sotiropoulis and Pearson may be the main event, but it's the middleweight collision between Lombard and Palhares that should have fans buzzing.
Both fighters are stocky, powerful middleweights that love to finish fights. Palhares is one of the most dangerous submission artists in the world, and Lombard has the ability to finish a fight at any moment.
Lombard's highly anticipated UFC debut was a disappointment as he lost a split decision to Tim Boetsch, but a win over Palhares would help establish him as a contender at 185 pounds. Palhares is coming off of a disappointing loss to Alan Belcher so both of these fighters are desperate for a win.
This has to be the odds-on favorite for the Fight of the Night bonus.
Main Event Prediction
Sotiropoulos is the slight favorite here and should come through with the win.
He's had well over a year off since his last loss to Rafael dos Anjos, and you have to believe that he spent much of that time working on takedowns and improving his standup.
Pearson is just 2-3 in his last five fights and hasn't finished anyone since 2009. Sotiropoulos should be able to score enough takedowns to at least win the fight on the cards and should threaten with plenty of submissions.
Sotiropoulos wins via third-round submission.