In front of over 17,000 of his fellow Australians, George Sotiropolous made his first appearance on the main card of a UFC event, and put on the fight of his career to defeat Joe Stevenson.
Sotiropolous has looking sharp in his previous outings in the prelims, but having faced no-one with any real pedigree in his previous UFC outings, there were doubts over how he would cope with someone of Stevenson’s caliber and experience.
Any doubts quickly evaporated though as the Australian took control in the stand-up exchanges, and dominated the former No.1 lightweight contender from top position, to the delight of the Aussies in attendance.
Even when Stevenson eventually managed to get on top in the later rounds, a position that he usually takes full advantage of, he was unable to make any significant impact due to the active guard employed by Sotiropolous.
Though he wasn’t able to finish the fight inside the distance, the evening could scarcely have went any better for Sotiropolous, as Dana White acknowledged at the post-fight press conference.
“I’m proud of him tonight, he looked amazing. Big night for him..big night,” he said of the Australian’s performance. “He just catapulted himself right into the mix.”
For Stevenson it’s a significant setback after appearing to have found a new lease of life with his previous two victories. The only consolation for him is that he earned another ‘Fight Of The Night’ bonus, his third in his past four fights.