Already featuring a bad blood-fueled main event between top middleweights Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, November 8’s UFC Fight Night 55 from the AllPhones Arena in Sydney, Australia, has added a heavy hitting lightweight co-main event.
British slugger Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson will take on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15 runner-up Al Iaquinta in a bout that should propel the winner to the next level of the stacked UFC 155-pound division. UFC Australia tweeted the reveal tonight:
— UFC Australia, NZ (@UFC_AUSNZ) October 2, 2014
Pearson was last seen destroying former title contender Gray Maynard via TKO at August’s UFC Fight Night 47 in his biggest victory to date. Prior to that, Pearson was embroiled in a heavy amount of controversy surrounding his laughable split decision loss to Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 42 in June.
He also saw a potential knockout win disappear against Melvin Guillard when an accidental knee lead to a no contest. He won his previous two bouts by knockout and has looked outstanding in recent years.
Iaquinta, meanwhile, was last seen finishing Rodrigo Damm at UFC Fight Night 50 to get back on track following his submission loss to Mitch Clarke at UFC 174 in May. Before the loss Iaquinta had racked up decision wins over Kevin Lee, Piotr Hallmann, and Ryan Couture.
Training with middleweight champion Chris Weidman at Matt Serra’s Long Island jiu-jitsu academy, Iaquinta has the skills and support system to continue rising up the UFC ladder. The feature bout will give each fighter an excellent opportunity to burst onto the crowded lightweight rankings.
It also bolsters the “Down Under” card quite significantly. Will Pearson continue proving he’s “The Real Deal,” or will Iaquinta use him as a big stepping-stone?
Photo: Gregory Fisher for USA TODAY Sports