UFC announces TUF: The Smashes cast
Forget the cricket, rugby or league; the hottest rivalry around between Australia and the United Kingdom takes place in the Octagon.
Starting from September 19th, MMA fighters will battle for national supremacy, and a UFC contract, in The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK – The Smashes.
With less than two weeks out from the show’s premiere on FX channel, the UFC has announced the all-important line up of fighters ready to lay it out in the line.
While Aussies and Brits live and breathe the strong sporting rivalry, UFC president Dana White didn’t understand how deep this is ingrained into each nationality, that is until they started filming.
“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.”
While the UK has been a point of focus for the UFC in the past, with their own The Ultimate Fighter season against the USA, headed by Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson; this is Australia’s first inclusion into the popular reality series.
Heading up the Australian team is coach George Sotiropoulos, guiding a combination of both Lightweights and Welterweights to success within the highly intense competition.
The Aussie Lightweights include Grant Blacker – 23 from the Sunshine Coast, Patrick Iodice – 19 from the Gold Coast, Ben Wall – 23 from Brisbane and Richie Vaculik – 29 from Sydney.
Welterweights include some recognizable names in Ben Alloway – 31 from the Gold Coast, Manuel Rodriguez – 27 from Sydney, Robert Whitaker – 21 also from Sydney and Xavier Lucas – 31 from Perth.
Sotiropoulos highly regards of his team of fighters mentioning that “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.”
Leading Team UK into battle is coach Ross Pearson, who is returning to the 155 pound division after a stint fighting at 145 late 2011 and early 2012.
The lightweights in Team UK include Colin Fletcher – 29 from Sunderland, Norman Parke – 25 from Bushmills in Northern Ireland, Michael Pastou – 30 from Essex and Mike Wilkinson – 24 from Leigh.
Welterweights include Luke Newman – 22 from London, Bola Omoyele – 30 from London, Valentino Petrescu – 30 from Essex and Brad Scott – 23 from Melksham.
With a disadvantage on the Aussie home court, coach Ross Pearson is still confident about Team UK, “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.”
There couldn’t be two coaches better prepared with mentoring new fighters throughout the show, with both Pearson and Sotiropoulos having experienced the series as competitors in their own right, Sotiropoulos featured in season 4 and Pearson won the Ultimate Fighter title in season 9.
The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK – The Smashes premiers Wednesdays at 7:30pm AEST on FX from September 19
Looking to join The Roar team? We're searching for an experienced Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. Yes, this does mean you get to work with the site all day long! If you're a digital media sales star, we want to hear from you. Apply now.