As we approach the debut of The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. U.K., aka The Smashes, many are asking a heavy load of questions about the upcoming season.

For those who may not remember, Smashes will air Thursdays for online viewing, starting this week, and will feature the lightweight and welterweight divisions. This edition of the reality series also holds the distinction of being the second international season, and also the second country-vs.-country season of the series, as TUF 9 lightweight winner Ross Pearson and TUF 6 alum George Sotiropoulos will coach their respective teams of eight. Pearson heads the series’ second incarnation of Team U.K., while Sotiropoulos heads the first incarnation of Team Australia.

Fans of TUF will come into this expecting what they expect out of every season of the show: for the cast to consist of someone with a colorful or creative hairdo, a fighter that aggravates one or more of his peers in the house, a dark horse in the competition, a fighter or two (or possibly more) who fights for what they left behind at home, and, of course, that one guy that sticks out to their coach for more of the wrong reasons than the right ones. As far as the coaches, no indication has been given as to how intense things were between Pearson and Sotiropoulos, but nobody can complain about the coaches’ challenge, as it does provide a good laugh or two.

However, take into consideration the events of TUF Brazil this past season. The first international season of TUF saw Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva coach featherweights and middleweights. Fans who watched these episodes found themselves getting more than the “reality show” aspects that left some wanting more in the early days of TUF. Fans may say the reality show moments served as delightful bonuses, but TUF Brazil also turned in memorable fights featuring legitimate Brazilian MMA prospects that fought like they wanted their six figures at the end of the season.

With that in mind, can you blame us for asking if Smashes will provide us with the same feeling?

Sure, Sotiropoulos and Pearson may not find themselves wanting to fight each other on Dec. 15 as badly as Silva and Belfort wanted to fight each other, and that’s perfectly fine. Not every season will have coaches that want to fight each other to the point of Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz in season eleven or Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans in season ten. However, we must ask if these fights will deliver because we’ve heard promises of awesome fights in the past, and we’ve seen moments when the fights did not deliver as the hype promised.

However, I trust this season to deliver the same excitement and fights as the Brazilian season. Whereas TUF Brazil highlighted the passion and the heart of the fighters who competed, the Smashes season will show the hunger within these prospects. Plain and simple, five of these fighters may claim undefeated status, but none of them will ever claim to enjoy losing. As the careers of Pearson and Sotiropoulos prove, the coaches don’t like losing either.

Competition drives every fighter in one way or another, and for those who feel TUF died long ago, Smashes promises to show that the series is still alive and kicking. The competition has remained the same, even though the faces may have changed, and at the end of the day, TUF has defined itself by showcasing the hunger and heart of MMA prospects instead of turning into just another reality TV show. Yes, fans can expect some drama here and there this season, but if the fans want the same excitement they got from the Brazilian edition, then they should make sure to tune in to this season.

For all the talk of this season turning in an insane set of intense fights, this one will deliver on that hype from the opening seconds to the final bell.

Photo: TUF 6 alum George Sotiropoulos (center), who meets Ross Pearson at UFC on FX 6: Lombard vs. Palhares (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.