• TUF Smashes

Aussies stun UFC officials in TUF Smashes tryouts

ESPN staff
June 13, 2012
Marshall Zelaznik is overseeing the TUF Smashes series © Getty Images

The UFC is currently in the process of drawing up a shortlist of Australian fighters to compete against the UK on the TUF Smashes series, and Marshall Zelaznik says the company has been "stunned" by the talent discovered Down Under.

Australia will go toe-to-toe against the UK in a forthcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, with eight lightweights and eight welterweights battling for a UFC contract.

The UK trials are due to take place, but the Australian participants have already had their chance to impress UFC officials. And Zelaznik revealed his colleagues were bowled over by what they saw.

"We're just selecting some of the Aussie fighters who will meet the UK guys. There's some real talent, I sat through most of it and there was some really high level grapplers," Zelaznik told ESPN. "The striking was impressive too, but the level of skill when it came to grappling was stunning.

"We're really happy with the group. We're about to announce the pool of fighters, we've got it down to 20, ten for each weight class. Then that gets shaved down to four per weight class because you only need eight fighters per country.

"We've done the tryouts a little differently, we put the net out, fished through them and then sent out exclusive invites to the guys with high calibre potential. That meant we've got the very best that are out here."

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