Pearson made a triumphant return to the lightweight division after defeating Sotiropoulos by TKO early in round three.
It was a back and forth battle in round one. Pearson landed a huge right hand early that put Sotiropoulos on rubber legs, but Sotiropoulous recovered by pushing Pearson into the fence and securing the clinch. Then Sotiropoulous landed a hard jab that backed up Pearson and at the end of the round, Sotiropoulos scored a huge takedown, took Pearson’s back and attempted a rear-naked choke.
In round two, Sotiropoulos improved his head movement and started finding a home for his jab and landed a few combinations. However, Pearson put the momentum back in his favor after landing a hard left hook that dropped Sotiropoulos.
In round three, Pearson scored with a hard left hook early that dropped Sotiropoulos. Sotiropoulos tried to rally off his back with a triangle attempt, but Pearson easily escaped. Once back on the feet, Pearson scored with a jab and then a right hook that spelled the end for Sotiropoulos.
Mark Goddard stepped in and stopped the fight by way of TKO via strikes at just 41 seconds into the third round.
“It was just patience and I just got the shots to land when I wanted them to land. I had it set up that all I had to do was just touch him,” Pearson said post-fight. “I listened to me coaches. I listened to me cornerman and just took me time with it not being the bull that I normally am and just being too aggressive. I thought about it and I pick me shots made him miss and saw me openings.”
With the win, Pearson improved his UFC record to 6-3 and his patience paid off as he put away Sotiropoulos in the final round.
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