- The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK - The Smashes
Alloway too strong for Petrescu
Australia secured bragging rights in the opening clash with UK in The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK - The Smashes - as Ben Alloway proved too strong for Valentino Petrescu.
Team Australia won the coin toss to decide the first fight and coach George Sotiropoulos controversially selected high-profile UK fighter Valentino Petrescu (13-2-0) to square-up against Australia's Ben Alloway (12-3-0).
Petrescu, a former elite gymnast and circus performer, who has toured with Cirque du Soleil, was felt to have a size and reach advantage over Alloway, a Gold Coast local who took up Jiu-Jitsu to lose weight when recovering from a football injury.
Commenting on how his life has changed since becoming a fighter, Alloway said: "MMA has completely changed who I am. I was in the hospitality industry, running night clubs when I met my wife, who I am with now and had turned into a little bit of an alcoholic. Basically my wife gave me the ultimatum to clean myself up, get out of the bar industry or I would lose her. She is my biggest motivation, she inspirers me. She said to me at the airport in tears: 'make sure you win this thing before you come back,' so those words really hit home for me when I was about to get on the plane. So that is what I plan to do."
The UK team was confident, with coach Ross Pearson saying: "It's a terrible match up in my opinion. I don't know why George chose him to go first. Maybe he's jumping right at the deep end and wanting to take one of our best guys out."
However, when the two met in the Octagon, it was clear Alloway was not out of his depth. The first round saw both fighters exchanging kicks and punches before the fight went to the ground. During the opening seconds of round two Alloway caught Petrescu with two clean punches and finishes him with ground and pound to win the fight via TKO.
Alloway said: "I feel honoured and blessed to get the first win for the first ever Aussie team in The Ultimate Fighter. It's a big deal to me and the team; the boys are loving it right now because the Pommies have been a bit cocky in the house. There's gonna be some good fights coming in the next couple of weeks for sure."
During the first training session for the series, the coaches put their teams through their paces. Unfortunately for Team UK, a training injury put lightweight Michael Pastou's future in the competition into question, after suffering a full tear of his bicep.
The series resumes next Wednesday, September 26 at 12.00am on ESPN. Next week, in episode two "Freak or Unique", UFC heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos drops in to surprise the fighters and offer advice. The UFC makes a decision on injured Michael Pastou's future and Team UK find a figure of hate in Aussie Ben "Manimal" Wall. The Australians hold the power as they select the first lightweights to face-off in The Smashes.