The finals of the first Ultimate Fighter reality show specifically geared for the Australian and U.K. markets was announced for Dec. 15 in Broadbeach, Gold Coast, Australia.
UFC announced earlier Tuesday to the Australian media that the show would take place at the 6,000-seat Gold Coast Convention and Entertainment Centre. Broadbeach is a suburb of Gold Coast, a major beach side resort city in the state of Queensland. It’s located about 40 miles away from Brisbane, the country’s third-largest city, in a metropolitan area of about 3 million people. This would be the first Australian UFC show held outside of Sydney. Australia has become one of UFC’s strongest international markets both for live shows and its strongest pay-per-view market outside of North America.
The live show takes place on a Saturday morning and early afternoon in Australia, so it can air live in prime time in North America on Friday, Dec. 14, on FX. It will be part of two straight nights of Ultimate Fighter finals on FX, as the U.S. version airs the next night.
The announced main event sends Hector Lombard (31-3-1, 1 no contest), who lived in Australia for years while starting his MMA career, facing Brazilian leg submission specialist Rousimar Palhares (23-4).
Interestingly, in Australia, the show is being billed as “UFC on FX: Sotiropolous vs. Pearson,” so for the local audience, it’s the battle of the two coaches of the season that starts airing this week that is being promoted as the main event.
Australia team coach George Sotiropolous (14-4) was the favorite of the local crowd when UFC debuted in that country in 2010. Pearson (15-6) coaches the U.K. team. Both originally made their names on the U.S. version of the reality show, with Pearson winning in the U.S. vs. U.K. season. Pearson moves back up to lightweight after losing to Cub Swanson at featherweight on June 22 in Atlantic City, N.J. Sotiropolous was in contention for a lightweight title shot until a loss to Dennis Siver on Feb. 27, 2011, in Sydney. He was then knocked out in 59 seconds by Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 132 on July 2, 2011, in Las Vegas, and hasn’t fought since.
The reality show debuts on Wednesday on Australia’s version of FX. In the U.K., the shows will air on the U.K.’s version of ESPN. In the North American market, the show will be available starting on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on UFC.com and on the UFC’s You Tube channel.
The reality show will have competitions in both the welterweight and lightweight divisions, with the finals hosting the two championship fights.
UFC also announced Canadian Krzysztof Soszynski (22-13-1) facing Brazilian Ednaldo Oliveira (13-1-1, 1 no contest) in a light heavyweight battle.
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