UFC 123: Is George Sotiropoulos Your Next UFC Lightweight Champion?
George Sotiropoulos first caught the attention of the fight community as a participant on the sixth series of The Ultimate Fighter. The Geelong native from Australia quickly became a favorite to be crowned as the next winner of the reality show.
On The Ultimate Fighter, Sotiropoulos displayed his tireless work ethic and impressive skill set to a world wide viewing audience.
Sotiropoulos defeated two opponents in his quest for the six-figure UFC contract but came up short in his semi-final bout with Tommy Speer following an accidental thumb to the eye.
His dream of becoming The Ultimate Fighter may not have come true, but he did get his chance to prove himself in the octagon when he faced fellow season six cast member Billy Miles.
Sotiropoulos disposed of the Team Hughes member in a little over the ninety-second mark of the very first round which was enough for him to get the invitation back to the big time.
Shortly thereafter, Sotiropoulos was hit with the injury bug and forced out of two scheduled bouts against Karo Parisyan and Matt Grice. After an eighteen month lay off he decided to compete at lightweight.
In his first two bouts at 155lbs the Australian put his jiu-jitsu skills on display submitting George Roop and Jason Dent. All this led to the biggest fight of his career to date.
The stage was all set. Sotiropoulos had the chance to compete in front of his home country crowd against a former top contender for the lightweight title but many, including myself, doubted the chances of Sotiropoulos in a bout against Joe "Daddy" Stevenson.
Sotiropoulos shocked the entire world with his dominant victory over Stevenson, which earned him fight of the night honors and put him right into the title mix. He followed it up with a narrow win over Kurt Pellegrino this past July.
Yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Sotiropoulos would be next in line for the winner of the rematch between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar rumored to take place later this year.
Today, numerous sources have reported that Sotiropoulos will square off against Joe Lauzon at the yet to be announced UFC 123 event to take place at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan on November 23rd.
His opponent, Joe Lauzon, is coming off one of the most dominant victories in recent memory with a submission win over Gabe Ruediger.
The UFC is expected to return to the home land of Sotiropoulos in February of 2011 so if successful in November it is possible that Sotiropoulos could get his chance to capture the ten pounds of gold in Australia.
Personally, I feel that Sotiropoulos is a more well rounded combatant. He has a better boxing and jiu-jitsu game, but Lauzon is not someone to be taken lightly. Lauzon has won eight of his last ten bouts.
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