The sixth installment of the UFC on FX comes to you Friday, Dec. 14, from beautiful Australia. It is a monumental event that will see the finale of the first-ever Ultimate Fighter series between Australia and the United Kingdom.

Two weight divisions, lightweight and welterweight, were featured on the season. An all-UK lightweight final will take place between Colin Fletcher and Norman Parke, while Team Australia’s Robert Whittaker meets the UK’s Brad Scott in the welterweight division.

Also, the coaches of the season go head-to-head in the main event, as Ross Pearson meets George Sotiropoulos. It is a heated rivalry that picked up while the two coached on the show.

The preliminary card takes place on Fuel TV on Friday at 6 p.m. ET. That leads to the main card on FX, which will start at 9 p.m. ET.

The MMA Corner’s Bryan Henderson, Dan Kuhl and Riley Kontek will break down the event in this edition of The MMA Corner’s Round Table.

TUF Smashes LW Final: Colin Fletcher (8-1) vs. Norman Parke (16-2)

Kuhl: Norman Parke and Colin Fletcher, teammates from Team UK, are both submission specialists, but with slightly different skill sets. During this season of TUF Smashes, Parke showed his clear dominance on the ground, edging out his opponents with decisions. Fletcher, on the other hand, showed dominance with his clinch work and takedown defense.

Fletcher (David Lethaby/Sherdog)

While both have impressive submission records as pros, with only three combined losses in 27 fights, the ways they lost add an interesting twist to this bout.

The Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu prospect, Parke, has actually been tapped out twice, which is a ding that doesn’t appear on Fletcher’s record. However, Fletcher has suffered a TKO loss, which Parke has been able to deliver to previous opponents.

At the end of the day, these two are a well-balanced match-up. Both have great submissions, good striking, and their very miniscule weaknesses cancel each other out, so this could be a toss-up. However, I think both fighters want to keep this off the ground, and standing, I give Fletcher a slight edge.

Fletcher by second-round TKO.

Henderson: I have to admit that Fletcher’s ring entrances and unique personality make him an instant favorite of mine. But that’s not what’s at question here. Instead, it’s his in-ring abilities versus “Stormin” Norman Parke. And in that area, these two should put on one great grappling clinic, unless they opt to avoid each other’s strength and make it a striking battle. That’s usually how these fights play out, and I think we’ll see exactly that in this one.

Parke has delivered three wins by TKO, but he’ll have to overcome Fletcher’s three-inch height advantage and a likely reach advantage for “Freakshow” as well. Fletcher also has Muay Thai skills in his arsenal, but he’s definitely a submission-first type of fighter.

Parke (Sherdog)

Fletcher hasn’t demonstrated knockout power throughout his career, but what’s more concerning is that he lacks the same level of competition as Parke has fought. That could be the key in this contest. Parke holds a more well-rounded game and the experience edge, and that will combine to lead him to victory via a late ground-and-pound TKO.

Kontek: This is definitely the most intriguing fight that could have been made for the lightweight finale. Parke is an absolute brute, while Fletcher is more flashy and long.

Parke is a submission grappler whose striking is still a bit green. He possesses good takedowns and solid clinch work, which he will try to use on Fletcher. He also has great submission ability, but I think Fletcher is good enough on the ground to not get caught by Parke.

Fletcher is a big, long guy that will need to use his distance to be successful here. He is very flashy on the ground, as seen with the modified keylock he used to tap out Richie Vaculik.

In this one, I think Fletcher can pull of the victory. A healthy dose of distance striking and aggression may get him to win a close decision on the scorecards. However, this fight could go either way.

TUF Smashes WW Final: Brad Scott (8-1) vs. Robert Whittaker (9-2)

Henderson: At ages 23 and 21, respectively, Brad Scott and Robert Whittaker could play big roles in the future of the UFC’s welterweight division. They also promise an exciting battle, as the two have combined for just one fight that has lasted the distance.

Whittaker (Chris de la Cruz/Sherdog)

With both men finishing opponents regularly via a combination of TKO’s and submissions, this fight really could go anywhere. Whittaker seems to be happy to stand and strike until he lands a crushing blow, whereas Scott will mix in more takedown attempts.

Scott had a tendency to get rocked in his fights on the show, and Whittaker’s aggressiveness in his TUF bouts suggests that he won’t let such an opportunity go to waste. These two are likely to come out throwing bombs, and Whittaker will get the best of those exchanges.

I see Scott dragging Whittaker to the ground in the first round after tasting his power. However, each round starts with the fighters back on their feet, and that won’t be a good thing for Scott. Whittaker will land a blow that leaves Scott staggered, and from there the Australian fighter will pounce on the Brit to finish it via TKO.

Kontek: This is going to be a very interesting fight, as this is the only Team UK vs. Team Australia match-up and both men have looked impressive on the show. I think this fight will have an exciting finish.

Scott (Zuffa)

Scott’s road to the finale saw him dominate Xavier Lucas and win a close fight over Ben Alloway. Alloway is an especially tough opponent, showing that Scott is definitely a legit fighter. His striking is his best tool, but it is also an attribute he shares with Whittaker.

Whittaker has easily been the most impressive fighter on the show. He has quickly knocked out Luke Newman and Xavier Lucas with brutal boxing ability. He has a bright future in the UFC, and it will start at UFC on FX 6 in Australia.

I think Whittaker will blast through Scott with another great knockout. It will be the first of many wins to come in the young Aussie’s career.

Kuhl: I have to agree with Bryan and Riley on this one. Whittaker is such an exciting guy to watch and he has way more power than Scott can handle.

Although, I would caution not to count Scott out. Both fighters are young and have nowhere to go but up. That being said, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Scott stepped up and caught Whittaker with a flash knockout, but that’s still a serious longshot. I just never know what to expect with these young up-and-comers.

I have to go with the gut, though, and predict the Aussie to secure a second-round TKO.

MW: Hector Lombard (31-3-1) vs. Rousimar Palhares (14-4)

Kontek: This fight between Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares is a big 185-pound match-up with two guys who were formerly supposed to be in the middleweight title picture. Lombard had his UFC debut derailed by Tim Boetsch in a lackluster bout, while Palhares had a three-fight winning streak snapped by the underrated Alan Belcher.

Hector Lombard (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Lombard is a power striker with a rarely talked of ground game. He is an Olympic-level judoka with a high ranking in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Even so, he would be far more comfortable staying out of Palhares’ wheelhouse, which is grappling. Lombard’s power is usually what ends people’s nights, as his fists are packed with C-4 explosives.

Palhares is one of the best grapplers in the UFC middleweight division. His leglocks are legendary and deadly. Though his striking is developing, he would be best suited putting Lombard on his back and working for a submission.

That is a lot easier said than done. Lombard has great takedown defense and you have to get inside his power to attempt to take him down. I see Lombard handing Palhares another knockout loss midway through the fight and getting that first UFC win under his belt. With the win, he will be back in the title picture from which he was ejected so abruptly.

Kuhl: Lombard’s last fight was a huge disappointment. Coming in after five-and-a-half years without a loss to go to a split decision loss against Boetsch dulled his image quickly. However, Lombard is still a scary man.

Palhares is no slouch, especially on the ground, and has a great camp, but I think Lombard will outclass him on his feet, before we get to see much of his BJJ expertise. Lombard is coming off an embarrassing loss to kick off his UFC career and will be looking for a quick finish. Being cautious in his match against Boetsch did nothing for him.

Palhares (L) looks for a submission (James Law/Heavy MMA)

I agree with Riley, look for Lombard to come out blazing, handing Palhares a late first-round TKO.

Henderson: I’m convinced that Lombard’s performance against Boetsch was nothing more than a fluke. The Cuban-born fighter will be eager to get in the cage with Palhares and bring an end to the talk that he was overrated.

Palhares is a dangerous one, but his best weapons are his leglocks. The one problem is that when going to those holds, Palhares will be leaving his face exposed. How many times have we seen a fighter beaten up while attempting those holds? Now, imagine the man doing the beating is Lombard, a guy who has destroyed opponents with his fists.

The key for Lombard is to be aggressive, but not careless. If Palhares does sink a deep heel hook, this could be over in no time. However, if Lombard brings the vicious striking game we’ve seen from him prior to his UFC debut, he should put Palhares away, much like Alan Belcher and Nate Marquardt before him.

LW: George Sotiropoulos (14-4) vs. Ross Pearson (13-6)

Henderson: We might not get Shane Carwin versus Roy Nelson, but the UFC can truthfully claim that it is hosting one coaches’ bout this weekend. The coaches, in this case, are lightweights George Sotiropoulos and Ross Pearson.

Sotiropoulos (center) (Sherdog)

Pearson is returning to the 155-pound ranks for this affair following a two-fight stint at featherweight. The Brit only managed a 1-1 mark in that stretch, and that came following a 1-2 rough patch at lightweight that forced him down to 145.

Sotiropoulos put together seven wins upon entering the UFC, but he’s hit a bit of a bump in the road as well. In his last two contests, the Australian BJJ specialist lost a decision to Dennis Siver and suffered a knockout at the hands of Rafael Dos Anjos.

Everyone knows where Sotiropoulos wants to take his fights. If the BJJ black belt can bring his opponent to the ground, there’s a good chance that a tapout is soon to follow, as was the case in eight of his victories. If he can’t succeed in his takedown attempts, then we get fights like his three-round losing effort against Siver.

It’s almost a certainty that Pearson will seek to keep this fight standing at all costs. Can he succeed? I doubt it. Sotiropoulos may have to work extremely hard to put Pearson on the mat, but following two losses, the Australian fighter will remain persistent in bringing the fight into his world. Pearson does have a rounded skill set, so he won’t make it easy, but he’s no stranger to submission defeats, having lost to Cole Miller via rear-naked choke. Sotiropoulos should take this one via submission.

Kuhl: The match-up between these TUF alum and current TUF coaches should be pretty exciting. Season-nine winner Pearson has superior striking with knockout power, but also has five submission wins, none of which were in UFC events. Season-six competitor Sotiropoulos submitted Joe Lauzon. Enough said.

As Bryan said, if Pearson keeps this standing, he has the clear advantage. If Sotiropoulos gets him to the ground, it will most likely go in the Australian’s favor.

Pearson (L) (Sherdog)

I think it’s important to point out that Pearson has a brown belt in judo, which may not be superior to a BJJ black belt once the fight hits the ground. However, judo practitioners have proven to be far superior at takedown defense, as this is the world they train in.

I’m going to play devil’s advocate on this one and predict Pearson to keep it on the feet. Pearson by unanimous decision.

Kontek: When looking at ground games alone, Sotiropolous is on another level from Pearson. However, you must have the takedown chops to get to submission grappling, which Sotiropoulos does not have.

Pearson has good enough takedown defense to stay off his back. I don’t think Sotiropoulos can close the distance enough to drag Pearson to the mat.

There will be a lot of clinch work in this fight. It will come from failed takedowns by the Aussie. That is where Pearson will work short shots and earn points.

Pearson’s stand-up is way better than that of Sotiropolous. He is more technical and more powerful, which could earn him a knockout at some point. That said, I will take Pearson to win this fight by decision.

Preliminary Card
LHW: Cody Donovan (7-2) vs. Nick Penner (11-2)

Kuhl: Promotional newcomer Cody Donovan is an intense, well-rounded brawler, coming out of Trevor Wittman’s Grudge Training Center in Denver, home of Shane Carwin, Duane Ludwig, Eliot Marshall, Brendan Schaub and a group of other UFC-caliber fighters. Nick Penner, on the other hand, trains with a good group of pro fighters that aren’t quite the level that Wittman’s camp is at. While Penner may hold a better pro record at 11-2, Donovan will certainly outclass the Canadian for a first-round stoppage, most likely by TKO

Kontek: Although Donovan is taking this fight on short notice, I feel that he still has a great chance at winning. Donovan has some good knockout power and, like Dan said, trains with a great camp. I see Donovan using his powerful stand-up to clip Penner at some point for the TKO.

Henderson: Donovan might be 7-2, but he tends to lose when he fights quality competition. Penner’s wins over strikers like Tim Chemelli and Ryan Fortin make me believe that he can handle someone like Donovan. Penner takes this one via decision.

LW: Brendan Loughnane (5-0) vs. Mike Wilkinson (7-0)

Kontek: One of the younger guys in the TUF Smashes house, Brendan Loughnane, takes on a guy who usually fights at featherweight in Mike Wilkinson. Loughnane was a semifinalist in the 155-pound bracket, the same place Wilkinson was headed before injuring his eye. Loughnane is a tough, aggressive kid that will give everything he’s got against Wilkinson. Unfortunately, I think Wilkinson’s experience and ground game will be enough for him to earn a decision over his Team UK teammate.

Henderson: Wilkinson’s size is what concerns me the most in this fight. He surrenders four inches in height to the 5-foot-10 Loughnane and he’s a natural featherweight, so it’s a good bet he’ll be the lighter of the two fighters when the opening bell sounds on Friday night. With his size, Loughnane should be able to keep this fight where he wants it, and that would be standing, where he’ll use his strikes to punish Wilkinson. Loughnane by TKO.

Kuhl: I used to be a big believer in fighters that don’t have to cut much weight, but outside of Frankie Edgar, I have grown tired of being proven wrong. Dennis Siver, Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber and a whole bunch of other guys are testaments as to why a good weight cut is a huge advantage. That being said, Loughnane is feeling way too comfortable at lightweight, and Wilkinson will have more fire in his belly. I”m going with Riley on this one. Wilkinson by decision.

WW: Ben Alloway (12-3) vs. Manuel Rodriguez (9-3)

Kuhl: Ben Alloway and Manuel Rodriguez should put together a great contest. Both welterweights are finishers who hardly ever go to decision, and Alloway was initially picked as a possible winner of TUF Smashes. Barring his loss on the show, Alloway is on a five-fight winning streak in his pro career. While both fighters are talented on the ground, Rodriguez has the clear advantage, but Alloway has great takedown defense. I see Alloway keeping this one standing, earning him a hard-fought late-round TKO.

Henderson: I’m not as confident of Alloway as my colleague. Alloway’s three losses have all come by submission, and that happens to be Rodriguez’s strong suit. It will be a competitive contest, but at some point Alloway will leave his arm or neck exposed and fall victim to a submission.

Kontek: I am very high on Alloway’s skills, but I am also impressed with Rodriguez. The difference is that Rodriguez is not a takedown artist and will have to get on the inside of Alloway. Alloway has good striking and power, which could be used to knock out Rodriguez. This fight could really go either way, but I think Alloway will walk away the winner.

WW: Seth Baczynski (18-8) vs. Mike Pierce (15-5)

Henderson: Mike Pierce has a tendency to fight close fights. That habit accounts for his two most recent losses, coming against top welterweights Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks. His only other recent loss is to Jon Fitch. Seth Baczynski, despite a six-fight winning streak that includes three Octagon victories, just doesn’t measure up to that level of competition. Baczynski would benefit tremendously in the title picture with a win over Pierce, but it’s more likely that we see Pierce work his way to another judges’ verdict.

Kontek: Pierce is just outside of the top 10 in the UFC welterweight division and easily one of the most underrated fighters at 170. Baczynski is a great prospect, but his skills are not yet on the level of Pierce. Expect Pierce to use his wrestling to control Baczynski, earning a late ground-and-pound stoppage or a decision.

Kuhl: Baczynski may not have quite the UFC experience that Pierce does, but I feel my colleagues are short-changing his skills a bit. Sixteen of Baczynski’s seventeen wins have been by stoppage. The guy is a total finisher. Of Pierce’s ten UFC fights, seven have ended in decision. Pierce is a distance brawler, whereas Baczynski is going for stoppage. I have Baczynski by second-round submission, extending his UFC winning streak to five fights.

LHW: Joey Beltran (14-8) vs. Igor Pokrajac (25-9)

Kontek: If you are looking for all-out action, striking from the outset and the possibility of a violent knockout, this fight should definitely tickle your fancy. Both Joey Beltran and Igor Pokrajac are noted strikers that love to put on a good show every time they fight. Beltran is not as skilled on the feet as Pokrajac, but has an almost unbreakable chin. Either way, toughness doesn’t knock other guys out, so Pokrajac will take an entertaining decision.

Kuhl: As Riley alluded to, Beltran and Pokrajac are both grinders that have experience in both early stoppages and going the distance. If there’s any one area where there is an advantage for Pokrajac, it would be in the submission category, but that’s only been done to Beltran once, four years ago. The fighters have faced world-class brawlers like Stephan Bonnar, Krzysztof Soszynski, Lavar Johnson and Stipe Miocic. Considering Beltran almost exclusively gets beat in decisions, and Pokrajac has been finished by numerous methods, including four knockout losses, I’ll give this one to Beltran by second-round TKO.

Henderson: This fight features two guys who have underperformed in their UFC tenures. Beltran has shown grit, and he probably has the better chance of scoring a knockout finish. However, it’s hard to overlook Pokrajac’s wins over Fabio Maldonado and Krzysztof Soszynski. The Croatian went the distance with Maldonado, a more technical boxer than Beltran, and scored a big knockout of K-Sos. The knockout makes me think he can start causing damage early against Beltran, and his win over Maldonado proves that Pokrajac can last against a power puncher. It’ll be fun to watch, but in the end it will be Pokrajac taking a unanimous decision against a battered and bloody Beltran.

FW: Yaotzin Meza (18-7) vs. Chad Mendes (12-1)

Henderson: Being a late replacement is one thing. Being a late replacement that will fight a former title challenger with only one career loss who was prepping for a battle with a rising contender like Hacran Dias is a completely different story. Yaotzin Meza is somewhat of a puzzling addition to the UFC roster, considering his most recent fight ended in a loss. With seven total losses on his record, the outlook is not bright for this guy. Mendes should dominate the fight, using his fists to end it via TKO in the first round.

Kuhl: The best thing Meza has going for him is his camp at The MMA Lab. The worst thing is that, even with six years experience as a pro, he has yet to face anyone at the level of Mendes. It’s great that the UFC is giving Meza a shot to prove himself, but he will most likely be nothing more than a disappointing filler versus Mendes. I agree with Bryan: Mendes by first-round TKO.

Kontek: It is commendable that Meza will take this fight on less than a week’s notice, especially against a top featherweight like Mendes. Meza is a guy who trains with UFC lightweight champ Benson Henderson, which proves he has a good training camp behind him. However, that will not save him, as Mendes is too high class and will use his wrestling to earn a ground-and-pound stoppage or a submission.

Top Photo: Ross Pearson (R) connects with a left hand (Heavy MMA)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.