Ross Pearson’s superior striking proved to be the big difference against George Sotiropoulos and after knocking him down several times he finally finished the job early in the third round by TKO.
A cagey start from both TUF coaches as they look to size each other up. Then Pearson suddenly opens up with a few powerful, accurate strikes and Sotiropoulos is clearly rocked with his legs wobbling all over the place.
He guts it out though and manages to slow the pace down in the clinch to try to get his bearings. After a short lull they break free and Sotiropoulos still doesn’t seem to be quite right.
Pearson lands a very hard leg kick and Sotiropoulos falls to the mat. He gets right back up though and they are back to it.
Sotiropoulos lands a solid jab that visibly gives him a confidence boost and he starts to look a little more confident on the feet.
In the final minute he goes for a takedown and brings Pearson down hard to the mat. He slickly takes his back and stays there when the UK fighter gets onto the mat.
Sotiropoulos is working for a choke from his back standing up and Pearson struggles hard to fight him off. In the end he does a forward roll to attempt to shake him and the bell sounds.
In the second round Sotiropoulos starts to work his way into the striking battle, starting to do a better job of counter-striking Pearson who’s occasionally working nicely to the body, but all too ofen now is loading up for one big shot that isn’t quite happening.
Sotiropoulos pieces together a nice combination of kicks and punches, his best offense of the fight so far, but that perhaps makes him overconfident as he comes in again and Pearson ducks and bangs in a left hook that has Sotiropoulos rocked again and on the mat.
The Australian recovers well though and gets back to his feet and attempts to slow down the pace. Pearson wants to keep the tempo high, but he slips on a kick and Sotiropoulos attempts a takedown and while he can’t get it he manages to clinch up.
Onto the third round and Pearson comes out meaning business. Almost instantly he drops Sotiropoulos again with another left hook.
The Aussie gets up but he’s still hurt and looks less than steady on his feet. Pearson’s got no intention of letting him off the hook and continues to attack, while Sotiropoulos struggles in vain to get some sort of a takedown.
Pearson lands a big jab and in his already weakened condition Sotiropoulos is rocked by it. Pearson immediately follows up with a right hook and Sotiropoulos falls awkwardly to the mat, barely conscious. A few ground and pound strikes follow and it’s all over with Pearson getting the TKO with 41 seconds of the third round gone.