LOCAL MMA star Norman Parke took a massive step closer towards his dream of competing in the UFC with a devastating victory over his Australian counterpart Richie Vaculik in the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes.
The Bushmills man won with a unanimous decision to progress in the competition and firm up his status as a contender to win the Lightweight division.
“This is what I came here for, this is what it is all about,” said a delighted Parke after the bout. “We all have fun and jokes back at the house but we are all focused once we get in there. I believe I can go all the way no matter what.”
British coach Ross Pearson praised his man for sticking to the game plan.
“The game plan worked really well. Norman just grinded him down and bullied him,” he said.
Tensions between Parke and the Australians have been on the rise since Team UK lost the first fight of the reality TV series competition.
After teammate Valentino Petrescu was knocked out by Ben Alloway, Parke begged the Aussies to pick him to fight.
Three weeks later in the fourth episode (last night), Parke got his wish.
When the pair squared off it became clear just how big a of size advantage Norman had over Vaculik.
At the beginning of the fight, Vaculik came out strong and really worked his jab. But Parke was quick to take over and controlled the Aussie in the clinch and up against the cage.
When the fight hit the ground, Parke easily spread himself over Vaculik keeping him pinned to the mat. The Brit rained down vicious elbows, one opening a huge gash on top of Vaculik’s head.
In the second round, Parke stuck to what he knew worked and took down Vaculik.
Again on the ground, Parke transitioned from full-guard to half-guard and punished the Aussie for the remaining few minutes of the round.
The judges all agreed Parke was the winner by unanimous decision.
This now means Parke moves through to the next round of fights in the lightweight division and Team UK gets to pick the next welterweight fight.
Parke’s coach, and Irish MMA great, Rodney Moore had this to say about the performance: “Excellent fight by Norman tonight in TUF… completely dominated..!! Did your wee country and all of us proud dude!!”