In the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK “The Smashes” both teams moved into their Sydney mansion to begin the quest for UFC glory.
“I just want to prove that I’m worthy of my spot,” said the youngest ever TUF contestant, Patrick Iodice of Australia.
While UK’s Michael Pastou said, “My ex left me because of my fighting. It means so much to me. When I lost my British title, I could have sat down and cried, but I got back on the horse and built myself up.”
Both teams entered the TUF gym at Fox Studio in Sydney where UFC president Dana White came to meet the contestants alongside the two coaches, Australia’s George Sotiropoulos and Ross Pearson of the U.K.
“If you add up all the seasons together, this is the 18th season,” said White. “It’s country vs. country and Brits love to beat Aussies, and Aussies love to beat Brits.”
White announced that the fighters that are awarded the best knockout, submission and fight of the season will each earn $25,000 and that everyone that finishes a fight earns a $5,000 bonus. White also revealed that the winners of the series get a six figure UFC contract.
Team Australia won the coin toss and coach George Sotiropoulos chose to pick the first fight, leaving U.K. coach Ross Pearson to choose the first weight division that fights.
Both teams were introduced to their assistant coaching staff at the first session.
Team Australia Assistant Coaches: Nick Kara (Kickboxing), Charles Blanchard (Wrestling), Leonard Gabriel Jr. (Boxing), Nathan Coy (Wrestling).
Team UK Assistant Coaches: Dean Amasinger (Nutritionist/MMA Coach), Jimmy Harbison (Jiu-Jitsu), Jason Soares (Wrestling), Erin Beach (Sparring/Boxing).
Pearson chose to let his team have a strong sparring session, while Sotiropoulos gave his team a softer start to prevent injuries. Team UK’s Michael Pastou ruptured his bicep throwing an overhand right and was later given the news that it needs surgery, all but dashing his TUF dreams.
The teams came together for first fight announcement. Ross Pearson chose the welterweights with Sotiropoulos choosing Ben Alloway (AUS) vs. Valentino Petrescu (UK) as the first fight.
Both fighters made weight for the fight: Alloway (170.5 lbs) vs. Petrescu (171 lbs).
Ben Alloway (AUS) vs Valentino Petrescu (UK):
Round 1 – The fighters touched gloves. Alloway attempts a leg kick and comes forward, looking to tie it up. Petrescu breaks and comes forward with a leg kick that Alloway catches. Alloway then again ties up Petrescu, but the Brit lands some good knees from the clinch with Alloway pinned against the cage. Alloway breaks free and lands a high kick on Petrescu before taking him down. Alloway moves into half guard, but Petrescu looks for a triangle from his back. Alloway takes the back of Petrescu before landing some solid shots to close the round. 10-9 Alloway.
Round 2 - Petrescu goes back to his jab, with Alloway continuing with his leg kicks. Alloway catches Petrescu with a left hand and follows up with another to drop the Brit, who covers up, but Alloway finishes the fight with ground strikes.
Ben Alloway def. Valentino Petrescu via TKO, Round 2.
“I’m through to the semis. It’s been a long time, but I’m one step closer,” Alloway said on his victory. “It was very emotional.”
(Photo courtesy of UFC Australia)
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