THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER: AUSTRALIA vs UK – THE SMASHES™ PREMIERE EPISODE RECAP AND RESULTS
Gold Coast’s Ben Alloway victorious for Team Australia in first fight of The Smashes
Sydney, Australia: The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK – The Smashes, the eighteenth season of the Ultimate Fighting Championship® organisation’s famed unscripted reality sports television program, premiered on FX on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. AEST.
The premiere episode, “National Pride”, saw 16 of the most talented unsigned mixed martial artists from Australia and the United Kingdom enter The Ultimate Fighter® for six weeks of intense training and competition in their quest to achieve their dream of receiving a six-figure contract with the UFC®. The bitter and longstanding rivalry between the two nations is evident between the teams, with the Aussies and the Brits staying mostly segregated upon meeting in the TUF™ house in Sydney, Australia.
Arriving at the TUF gym, the fighters are inspired when they meet UFC President Dana White, who introduces them to their coaches, George Sotiropoulos (Australia) and Ross Pearson (UK), both of whom are TUF alumni.
White motivates the fighters further when he announces this season’s cash prizes: $25,000 for each submission, knockout and fight of the season, $5,000 for finishing a fight (knockout, submission or referee stoppage) and a six-figure UFC contract for the winners of each weight class (welterweight and lightweight).
During the first training session for the series, the coaches put their teams through the paces. Unfortunately for Team UK, a training injury puts lightweight, Michael Pastou’s future in the competition into question, after suffering a full tear of his bicep.
With Team Australia winning the coin toss to decide the first fight, Sotiropoulos controversially selects high-profile UK fighter Valentino Petrescu (13-2-0) to square-up against Australia’s Ben Alloway (12-3-0).
Petrescu, a former elite gymnast and circus performer, who’s toured with Cirque du Soleil, is seen to have a size and reach advantage over Alloway, a Gold Coast local who took up Jiu-Jitsu to lose weight when recovering from a soccer injury.
Commenting on how his life has changed since becoming a fighter, Alloway said: “MMA has completely changed who I am. I was in the hospitality industry, running night clubs when I met my wife, who I am with now and had turned into a little bit of an alcoholic. Basically my wife gave me the ultimatum to clean myself up, get out of the bar industry or I would lose her. She is my biggest motivation, she inspirers me. She said to me at the airport in tears: “make sure you win this thing before you come back,” so those words really hit home for me when I was about to get on the plane. So that is what I plan to do.”
The UK team sees the bout as a mismatch, weighted strongly in their favour, with Pearson saying, “it’s a terrible match up in my opinion. I don’t know why George chose him to go first. Maybe he's jumping right at the deep end and wanting to take one of our best guys out.”
However, when the two meet in the Octagon™, it’s evident that Team UK has underestimated Alloway. While the first round sees both fighters exchanging kicks and punches before the fight goes to the ground, it’s during the opening seconds of round two that Alloway catches Petrescu with two clean punches and finishes him with ground and pound to win the fight via TKO.
Alloway is emotional about his win and excited for his future in the competition. “I feel honoured and blessed to get the first win for the first ever Aussie team in The Ultimate Fighter. It's a big deal to me and the team; the boys are loving it right now because the Pommies have been a bit cocky in the house. There's gonna be some good fights coming in the next couple of weeks for sure.”
The series resumes next Wednesday, September 26, at 7.30pm AEST on FX (FOXTEL channel 123). Next week, in episode two “Freak or Unique”, UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos drops in to surprise the fighters and offer advice. The UFC makes a decision on injured Michael Pastou’s future and Team UK find a figure of hate in Aussie Ben “Manimal” Wall. The Australians hold the power as they select the first lightweights to face-off in The Smashes.
#TeamAUS (Twitter handles)
Michael Pastou @hulkmma
Colin Fletcher @dr_freakshow
Mike Wilkinson @M_Wilkinsonmma
Norman Parke @norman_parke
For more information, bios, videos and photos, visit www.UFC.com and follow us on Twitter @UFC_Australia and @FXtvau or on www.facebook.com/UFCAustralia and www.facebook.com/fxtvau. Join the conversation on Twitter: #TUFSmashes #TeamAUS #TeamUK. .