Joe "Daddy" Stevenson fights hometown favorite George Sotiropoulos at lightweight.
Sotiropoulos enters to "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. No sign of Precious Paul Ellering in his corner.
Sotiropoulos is one of those fighter names that really makes you earn your keep as a rapid-fire live blogger.
Round 1: Stevenson tests the distance with a couple of looping lefts. Sotiropoulos with a straight left. Sotiropoulos takes a single leg and Stevenson defends it well. Stevenson underhooks the arms and tries to throw Sotiropoulos but it doesn't work, and he ends up with Sotiropoulos in his full guard. Sotiropoulos gets one leg free, trying to pass to the side. Stevenson also has his arms trapped briefly. Herb Dean warns them to stay busy, which is weird since they're pretty actively struggling for control. Sotiropoulos tries to pass as Stevenson looks to sweep, and it ends up with Sotiropoulos standing over Stevenson and hammerfisting him repeatedly. Stevenson connects with an upkick. Stevenson applies an arm triangle and Sotiropoulos slips out of it, then moves to full mount. A wild scramble ensues as Stevenson tries to escape. Sotiropoulos ends up working from the side and nearly gets an armbar with seconds left in the round. He switches back to full mount right before the buzzer. 10-9 Sotiropoulos, and the Australian crowd is cheering wildly for him.
Round 2: Sotiropoulos is getting cheered on by the audience in a very GSP-in-Montreal way. Sotiropoulos lands some inside punches while Stevenson starts throwing leg kicks. Stevenson with a lunging uppercut that misses. Sotiropoulos with a pair of three-punch combos, landing a few. Stevenson gets a double-leg takedown. Sotiropoulos uses a triangle choke setup to transition to an omoplata, trapping Stevenson's arm. Stevenson fights to break free and Sotiropoulos rolls through with the omoplata to sweep Stevenson. Beautiful jiu-jitsu display right there. Sotiropoulos renews his crank on the arm. Stevenson breaks free and ends up on top in Sotiropoulos' guard. Stevenson goes for an ankle lock but can't complete it. Sotiropoulos slaps on an anaconda choke as the round ends. Very close round. I call it 10-9 Sotiropoulos, but it could go either way.
Round 3: Sotiropoulos throws some body punch combos. Stevenson with an outside leg kick. Sotiropoulos catches the leg and trips Stevenson to the mat, but Stevenson scrambles to his feet quickly. They end up grappling against the fence. A prolonged struggle goes nowhere, and they separate. Sotiropoulos tags Stevenson with a nice right to the jaw. Stevenson shoots and Sotiropoulos defends it well. Stevenson lifts Sotiropoulos to complete the takedown with a slam, and winds up in Sotiropoulos' half guard. Sotiropoulos works back to full guard before Stevenson can do any damage on the ground. Stevenson stands up and Sotiropoulos connects with an upkick. Sotiropoulos stands and Stevenson completes another takedown. Sotiropoulos controls Stevenson's upper body to prevent ground and pound as the third round ends. I score the fight 30-27 Sotiropoulos, but I could see the second round going to Stevenson. We'll see what the judges think.
Winner: George Sotiropoulos defeats Joe Stevenson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds.
That's an enormous win for Sotiropoulos, made even bigger by the fact that it happened in his home country with the crowd roaring in approval the entire time.