Sutherland Shire’s Robert Whittaker claims Team Australia’s second victory with 19 second knockout of UK’s Luke Newman
Aussie welterweight and Shire local, Robert Whittaker (9-2), claimed an impressive 19 second knockout of Team UK’s Luke Newman (5-0) in episode three of The Smashes™, taking the tally to 2-1 in Australia’s favour.
Team UK had the advantage going into the welterweight bout, with the opportunity to choose the fight match-up. UK coach, Ross Pearson announced 22 year-old Newman, from London, England, to take on 21 year-old Whittaker, believing that his teammate had a stylistic advantage over the Aussie.
Following the fight announcement, a cocky Whittaker said he was “100 per cent going to win the fight” and went into the bout with a clear strategy. “I’m gonna go in there and play my own game. I’ll use what my coach, George, has taught me and just do what I do; fight,” he said.
Newman, who entered The Ultimate Fighter® competition with an unbeaten record, was also confident stepping into the Octagon™, saying: “I've never lost a mixed martial arts fight. I'm looking to carry on my streak. There's a lot riding on this. If I win this, I'm that step closer to achieving what I auditioned for. I didn't audition just to come here and fight, I auditioned to come here and win.”
The bout began with Newman rushing Whittaker and landing a few punches before Whittaker landed the knockout punch and finishing the fight decisively with pound and ground.
Commenting on his win, Whittaker said: “I will be in the UFC® one day and it will take more than one man to stop me.”
The explosive bout capped off an action-packed episode of The Smashes where the growing animosity between coaches Sotiropoulos and Pearson become increasingly apparent with both sides engaging in some mind games during the fight announcement and weigh in.
Inside the TUF house, the ‘wasabi challenge’ momentarily united both teams as the UK’s Colin Fletcher and Australia’s Ben Wall attempted to snort lines of wasabi and then Peri Peri sauce. While the challenge may have seemed like harmless fun, both fighters felt the effects for hours following with Fletcher describing the pain as being like having “dirt smeared in my eyes, having my nose pulled off my face and being kicked in the nuts”.
The series resumes next Wednesday, October 10, at 7.30p.m. AEST on FX (FOXTEL channel 123). In the fourth episode – Pick Me – both coaches increase the intensity in training with Sotiropoulos taking Team Australia to do conditioning on sand dunes and Pearson taking Team UK through the training session from hell. Team UK try to pressure Sotiropoulos into picking Norman Parke with a “pick me, pick me” chant and Sotiropoulos surprises them all with who he chooses to face-off in the second lightweight bout.