After a stint at featherweight, Ross Pearson returned to the lightweight division on Friday night with a lot more power in his hands.
Pearson put that power on display during his grudge match with George Sotiropoulos in the UFC on FX 6 main event in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The two developed a dislike for one another as opposing coaches on "The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes Series."
A short left hook from Pearson, followed by a right hand sent Sotiropoulos to the canvas and he never got up as referee Marc Goddard waived the fight off at 42 seconds of the third round.
"It's absolutely unbelievable," said Pearson, who improved to 14-6. "This is what we do at Alliance MMA, the best gym in the world.
I was just patient. I said all along that all I needed to do was touch him."
For Pearson, the win marked his return to 155 pounds after two bouts at 145 pounds. He went 1-1 in the featherweight division, but complained that his punches had lost much of their pop.
Sotiropoulos, who once put together an eight-fight win streak that had him in title contention, has dropped three in a row.
A former amateur boxer, the 35-year-old Sotiropoulos was dropped in each round by Pearson. Much of the damage was done by Pearson's left hook.
"He got the better of me in that last round," said Sotiropoulos, who fell to 14-5.
Strong third lifts Whittaker to victory
The fighters split the first two rounds with Whittaker taking the first and Scott rebounding in the second. But the hard-hitting Whittaker picked up the pace in the third round, constantly coming forward to deliver several punches, elbows and kicks that forced Scott to retreat.
The assault opened a cut on the head of Scott that sent blood streaming down his face. Scott landed several punches in the second round that bloodied Whittaker's nose.
The victory earned Whittaker (10-2) a six-figure contract with UFC.
"The contract is nice, but the real joy was defending my country and exciting the crowd," said Whittaker, a resident of Sydney, Australia. "I wanted to seal the deal in that third round and show who won it."
Scott falls to 8-2 with the loss.
Parke defeats close friend Fletcher
Lightweight Norman Parke refused to let friendship get in the way of a win.
Parke was able to take Colin Fletcher and control him during the first two rounds. His ability to control Fletcher early was enough to secure a unanimous decision.
Two of the judges scored the bout 30-27, while the third had it 29-28, all for Parke.
Unlike the first two rounds, the final stanza was fought on the feet.
Parke (17-2) got the better of the standup action for most of the round, but Fletcher (8-2) came on strong in the final two minutes. Fletcher's late charge wasn't enough, however, to pull out the victory.
Parke and Fletcher, who became close friends during "The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes," hugged and exchanged kind words after the bout.
Lombard finishes Palhares for first UFC win
His initial foray into the Octagon didn't turn out the way former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard had intended.
He was determined not to let his second UFC appearance turn out the same way.
Lombard stalked submission expert Rousimar Palhares from the start and eventually landed a hard left and right hand to finish the fight at 3:38 of the first round.
Earlier in the round, Lombard dropped Palhares with a left hand. Lombard landed several more punches before allowing Palhares back to his feet.
The victory helped erase some of the pain Lombard felt after coming out on the short end of a split decision against Tim Boetsch in his UFC debut on July 21. That loss snapped Lombard's 25-fight win streak.
After the win, Lombard called out the fighter many believe might be next in line for a middleweight title fight.
"I want to do that to (Michael) Bisping," said Lombard, who improved to 32-3-1 with one no contest. "Stop talking. I want to get my hands on you.
"Getting my first win in the UFC -- I think I won the last fight -- but getting my first win in the UFC means a lot."
Palhares (14-4) dropped his second fight in a row.