One punch can derail a career. It's exactly what happened to hot shot prospect George Sotiropoulos during Season 6 of "The Ultimate Fighter" when the Aussie was upset by Tommy Speer. After an eye poke, Speer knocked him out, but it didn't stop things completely for Sotiropoulos. He went back to work, fought through some injuries, posted three more wins and tonight he officially sent word to the MMA world, that he's a quick riser to be reckoned with by beating veteran Joe Stevenson at his own game. Sotiropoulos outgrappled Stevenson for the better part of 15 minutes to pick up a unanimous decision victory, 30-27 on all cards, at UFC 110 in Australia. Steveson was a minus-240 favorite in Las Vegas sportsbooks.
"That was a very close fight," Sotiropoulos told UFC analyst Joe Rogan. "I know I won the striking and the ground. I was very aware of his submissions [but] I didn't feel in danger at anytime. It was second nature."
UPDATE: Stevenson and Sotiropoulos got the $50,000 fight of the night bonus.
For Stevenson, it was loss No. 5 in the UFC but he's never been outgrappled like this. Sotiropoulos dominated the first round. In the second, Stevenson scored a takedown but the Aussie immediately thwarted his offense by working an omoplata. When the fight was standing, Sotiropoulos (12-2, 5-0 UFC) picked apart Stevenson with beautiful counter right hands. "Joe Daddy" would whiff with wild left hooks and get belted across the chin. Sotiropolous also landed his best punch, a left hook, in the first minute of the final round.
Sotirpoulos missed out on that TUF 6 Finale. Speer fell quickly to the show winner Mac Danzig, who is just 2-3 in the UFC.