Via UFC and Josh Reese
FX and the Ultimate Fighting Championship® organization today unveiled the identities of the sixteen Australian and British mixed martial artists set to represent their nations in The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK – TheSmashes™.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF™) finalists are among the top fighters in both nations’ lightweight and welterweight divisions, with the Australian team comprised of representatives from NSW, QLD and WA, while the UK team features fighters from all over England as well as Northern Ireland.
“These guys have definitely made the second international TUF show ‘can’t miss’ TV,” said UFC President Dana White. “Going into this thing, I had no idea just how much the Aussies and the Brits can’t stand losing to each other. Now I know.”
Premiering Wednesdays at 7:30pm AEST on FX in Australia from September 19, the 13-episode, Australian-produced series follows the selected fighters as they live together in The Ultimate Fighter® house, training and competing against eachother for a prized contract with the UFC®, culminating with a live three-hour finale in December.
Guided by Australian coach George Sotiropoulos, Team Australia comprises of:
Grant Blackler (8-0), 23, Sunshine Coast 3 of his wins have come by way of the same person, who he finished the same way via RNC
Patrick Iodice (5-0), 19, GoldCoast finished his last fight in a 7 second TKO
Richie Vaculik (9-1), 29, Sydney all 9 wins by way of a finish 7 in the first round 2 in the second round
Ben Wall (6-0-1), 23, Brisbane 4 decision’s and is riding a 2 fight win streak
Ben Alloway (12-3), 31, GoldCoast 5 fight win streak, all losses have been by way of submission
Xavier Lucas (8-3), 31, Perth, going in to the show riding a 2 loss streak
Manuel Rodriguez (9-3), 27, Sydney, 2-2 in his last 4 fights
Robert Whitaker (9-2), 21, Sydney, 7 wins before his 1st loss, in his last fight he lost a championship fight via a 5 round decision
English coach Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson takes charge of Team UK:
Colin Fletcher (8-1), 29, Sunderland, 7 of 8 wins come by of submission
Norman Parke (16-2), 25, Bushmills, Nth Ireland started his career with a loss, then won 10 in a row before another loss, 15 of his 16 wins were finishes 12 submissions 3 TKO
Michael Pastou (9-2-1NC), 30, Essex, Once had a Welterweight title fight called a NC after a fan riot, riding a 2 fight win streak beating the same man
Mike Wilkinson (7-0), 24, Leigh, won his last fight via 3 round decision, and had 6 finishes before that.
Luke Newman (5-0), 22, London, all 5 wins via 1st round finish 2 submissions and 3 TKO’s
Bola Omoyele (6-1), 30, London, all wins coming by way of finishes 5 TKO’s and one submission due to punches
Valentino Petrescu, 30, Essex, normally a Middleweight he will be competing at 170 for the show and is riding a 3 fight win streak.
Brad Scott, 23, Melksham, all wins by way of finish and is 6 fight win streak.
The two lightweight coaches – both alumni of The Ultimate Fighter television series in the Unites States – will also go head-to-head in the Octagon® at the live finale.
Of mentoring his charges, Australian coach George Sotiropoulos said: “It’s a really diverse group of guys on the team, but the thing that’s uniting them is that everyone’s motivated and focused. There’s a lot of personal and national pride at stake but they’re going into the competition with a positive attitude and are really pulling together as a team. I’m very impressed by their maturity.”
British coach Ross Pearson is confident about Team UK’s chances: “Having been where they are, I know exactly what the guys are facing. They’re taking it all in their stride and, despite being so far from home, they’re eager to prove themselves, so morale is high. They each bring unique strengths to the team so the sparks are really going to fly when they meet the Aussies in the Octagon.”
This is only the second time in TUF’s seven-year history that teams will represent their country of origin, the first taking place in 2009 when Team USA took on Team UK.
Viewers outside of Australia will be able to tune-in and watch the series on TUF.tv.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag: #TUFSmashes #TeamAUS #TeamUK