By: King Eddie
Let me start this post off by saying that for a card that served as the Finale to a TUF season none of us really watched, the event was very well put together and exciting. It's always a little dissapointing to not recognize the names on the fight card, but for me, it's also a little exciting. Because it is the opportunity to be surprised. And nothing beats the thrill of the fight game, when you have no idea what is going to happen. Now let's move on to the breakdown.
Hector Lombard, without a doubt, was the biggest winner to me on tonights fight card. Not only did he save himself from being yet another derailed hype train, he dispatched of one of the scariest dudes in the sport today in Rousimar Palhares. And I am sure that his calling out of one of the divisions top fighters, Michael Bisping, made Uncle Dana quite happy as well. He loves that sort of thing.
With a lackluster debut, Lombard's support base deflated dramatically. Coming over to the UFC as one of the most feared strikers in the world, many thought he would be a world breaker and cruise to an easy title shot. Then after a less than admirable showing against Tim Botsche it looked as if Lombard was cycled to the bottom of the pile. Not only did his impressive win leap frog him to new heights in the division, his willingness to be an injury replacement sub for what is thought to be a title contention match between Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort, gains him quite a bit of stock with the bosses. Hector Lombard went from the brink of a spiraling career, to the cusp of Middleweight contention with a few smooth punches.
George Sotiropoulos lost huge tonight my friends. As a guy who was thought to be slept on for many years, he had finally jumped to the top of the division only a few short years ago. On the verge of title contention, Soti took on a tough german fighter by the name of Dennis Siver, and that was the beginning of the end for the Aussie. He then went on to get brutally KO'd by Rafael Dos Anjos. What was once but a fight away for Sotiropoulos, was now a distant hope.
When The Ultimate Fighter: "The Smashes" gig became available, it looked like Sotiropoulos was going to fast track back to recognition. But the Aussie was once again wrong. In the nights main event bout, George was dropped in every round by Ross Pearson, who has spent the better part of the year as a featherweight. That does not spell good news in my eyes. With now three straight losses, and two of them by form of knockout, Sotiropoulos may possibly be handed his walking papers. And if he is still lucky enought to have a job, it isn't likely we will see him make his way off of the prelims for the duration of his slowing career.
Joey Beltran has surely won us over with his performance tonight. The rags to riches tale of "The Mexicutioner" is a heart warming one to say the least. The down on his luck, would-be, fighter was discovered at a bus stop right here in Hawaii, by none other than head Bulls Pen Trainer, Dino Fernandez. Though this was years ago, Joey realized his love for the sport of MMA. When he returned to his home in the mainland, he continued on his path to the UFC.
Early in his career, Beltran became a fan favorite with his exciting style. But a pile of losses didn't really look too great for the company and he was released. But after a scramble to replace a Light Heavyweight fighter on a recent UFC fight card, Beltran answered the call and the UFC brass gave him a multi-fight contract to repay him. He hasn't let them down. Though he lost a battle to James Te Huna in his return to the Octagon, he was given another chance tonight against the Croation, Igor Pokrajac. It would serve him well, as the new weight class, and new realization that he needed gas in the tank, made him a totally different fighter. The Aussie fans loved him, the UFC loves him. Truly a warrior to come from behind, multiple times in life and career, to make the fans cheer once again.