Manny Rodriguez forced to withdraw competition due to broken leg
Team UK’s Brendan Loughnane evens the score with a hard-fought victory over Patrick Iodice
A broken leg has forced Australian welterweight Manny Rodriguez to prematurely exit the competition despite last week’s first-round victory over Team UK’s Bola Omoyele.
Ultimate Fighting Championship President, Dana White, was brought in to deliver the crushing news to Rodriguez via video-call saying: “Your leg is fractured, so unfortunately you’re going to have the leave the competition and we have to bring in an alternate. But don’t worry, you’ll get an opportunity down the line here in the future.”
It was an emotional departure as Rodriguez said farewell to his Team Australia teammates, who showed mateship to their fallen fighter. He also said good-bye to Team UK, who were equally moved by his untimely departure, showing respect and great sportsmanship.
Penrith’s James Vainikolo has entered The Ultimate Fighter® house as Rodriguez’s replacement.
Team UK’s own replacement fighter, Brendan Loughnane (who replaced injured Michael Pastou in episode two) grinded out a close decision victory over Team Australia’s Patrick Iodice, TUF’s® youngest-ever competitor and undefeated Gold Coast youngster, in the penultimate preliminary lightweight bout.
The pairing was picked by Australian coach, George Sotiropoulos, who was in search of Team Australia’s first lightweight win.
It was the Aussie who took control early in the first round, scoring a perfectly timed double leg take-down and taking advantage of his top position on the mat. Loughnane defended well off his back and after several attempts, eventually found himself back on his feet and scoring a takedown of his own, finishing round one on top.
Submission attempts were traded early in round two, but none with enough potency to finish the fight. It was Loughnane who eventually found top-position on the ground and finished the second round as he did the first.
Despite a close contest, a third round wasn’t required with the judges awarding victory to Loughnane by unanimous decision. Ecstatic with his performance, Loughnane is now confident of posing a serious threat to the competition, saying post-fight: “I’m the guy who came in, short notice and took the first win by storm. Now, I’m going all the way.”
The series resumes next Wednesday, October 31, at 7.30p.m. AEDT on FX (FOXTEL channel 123). In episode seven – Unwise Words – Penrith’s James Vainikolo settles into the TUF™ house and is told to ready himself to fight at short notice, while Team UK takes mischief to a whole new level, unleashing with an all-out food-fight – escalating last week’s efforts. Team Australia is payed a surprise visit by light heavyweight rising star James Te Huna.
Tickets to UFC® on FX: SOTIROPOULOS vs. PEARSON are now on sale, with tickets priced between $175 and $350. To purchase tickets or for more information visit the Gold Coast Box office or go to http://premier.ticketek.com.au.