GOLD COAST, Australia â€“ Ross Pearson’s aggression has gotten the better of him in the past. But not on Friday night.
Pearson (14-6 MMA, 6-3 UFC) displayed a newfound sense of patience, and it paid off as he notched a third-round TKO stoppage of Australian home fan favorite George Sotiropoulos (14-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) in the main event of UFC on FX 6.
The lightweight bout took place at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It aired on FX following prelims on FUEL TV.
Pearson got aggressive against Cub Swanson in a featherweight fight this past June, and he paid the price with a second-round TKO loss. But when he knocked Sotiropoulos down in the first and second rounds on Friday, he had a new mentality â€“ one the team at Alliance MMA in San Diego instilled in him.
“I just had to take my time,” Pearson said. “A couple times, I was telling myself to go, go, go â€“ like I normally would. But I listened to my coaches and they said the knockout would come. I listened to them and did what I had to do.”
The knockout indeed came after he again knocked Sotiropoulos down early in the third round. But on that occasion, he picked the right moment to get more aggressive and moved in for the finish.
The win came in his return to the lightweight division after a two-fight stint at featherweight. And it came against a newly minted rival after he and Sotiropoulos coached opposite each other on “TUF: Smashes.”
Pearson said he and Sotiropoulos aren’t going to be burying the hatchet any time soon to hang around together. But he did say he got the win he wanted, and was content to be done and on to the next one.
“I said before the fight, me and George are never going to be friends,” Pearson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “He’s his person, I’m my person and we’re never going to get along. I finished the fight, and there’s nothing to look back on now. Me and George are two different people.
“Not that I’m going to throw salt in the wound â€“ there’s no need for that. I’m going to move on with my career and take on my next opponent.”
As for who that opponent might be in a crowded lightweight division, Perason is uncertain. But he believes a return to 155 pounds was the right move following his loss to Swanson in June.
“I just want to keep progressing, keep improving and keep climbing the ranks,” he said. “I have a place here. I feel comfortable at this weight. I’m 28 years old now and I just want to take the next step in my career. I know I’ve got the right team and right coaches.”