George Sotiropoulos (14-4-0) vs. Ross Pearson (13-6-0)
Sotiropoulos was at one time considered a top contender with seven straight wins in the octagon, but after two losses and over one year removed from his last bout he is all but forgotten. He now has a chance to take the right steps toward regaining his status, but he has a tough test in Ross Pearson in front of him. Sotiropoulos is one of the best jiu jitsu practitioners at lightweight, considering he has had his black belt for over eight years now. Sotiropoulos will enjoy a height, reach, and weight advantage, which he will use to dictate on to the ground. This is where he has the best chance of winning.
Pearson says he feels the need to redeem himself after his second round knockout loss to Cub Swanson. That was not the first time he was finished in the UFC, but it was a fight he thinks he should have been able to win. Now, he moves back up to the weight class he had won The Ultimate Fighter at, and earn a chance to coach a team, representing the country he hails from. Pearson is decent on the ground, but his game is not near the level of Sotiropoulos. He will have to use his Judo background to try to keep the fight standing, since he wants to use his hands to beat Sotiropoulos. That is what Rafael dos Anjos and Dennis Siver did, and Pearson will most likely want to replicate those game plans.
The Bottom Line:
Sotiropoulos’ ring rust may play a factor in this fight, after being out a year and a half. Plus, as long as Pearson can keep it standing majority of the fight, he will win. Pearson wins by unanimous decision.