After falling behind on the scoreboard, a deflated UK team returned to the gym where coach Ross Pearson put them through a tough session.
George Sotiropoulos took his troops to the Cronulla sand dunes, where they went through a series of hill sprints. On return to the house, the Australian’s walked into the kitchen, which looked like a bomb had just hit it.
“Team UK are grubs,” Robert Whittaker said. “Everything they touch is grubby, and there’s not much you can do about it. You can’t tell a snail to be anything more than a snail.”
The teams once again came together for the announcement of the next lightweight fight, with Australian coach George Sotiropoulos having the final say. Sotiropoulos chose Norman Parke (UK) vs. Richie Vaculik (AUS).
“Richie swims with sharks,” Sotiropoulos said. “He’s fast, tenacious and he’ll win.”
Team UK indulged in a game of strip pool, with the loser having to do a lap of the tennis court naked, but “The Freak Show” being himself chose to do a naked run of the court for entertainment.
With fight day drawing closer, Richie “Vas” was his confident self ahead of the match-up, “He’s going to have the size and strength advantage, but I’m going to try and outwork him with my speed and agility.”
Norman Parke weighed in at 156 pounds, while Richie Vaculik, who usually fights at bantamweight, weighed 153.5 pounds.
Team Australia tried to get into the minds of their UK counterparts in the lead-up to the fight, placing gym mats up against their dressing room door.
The prank hit a nerve with the UK team, who filled a bucket full of waste, before hanging it above the Australian team’s dressing room door. Australian Xavier Lucas returned for some water during a training session and just avoided wearing the bucket full of coffee and egg.
In true fashion of rivals, the Australian kickboxing coach returned the favor by tipping a bucket full of juice water all over the UK’s dressing room chairs.
Richie Vaculik (AUS) vs. Norman Parke (UK):
Round 1: Both fighters touched gloves with Vaculik moving forward. Parke quickly put him on his back, but the fight returned to the feet. Vaculik tagged Parke and took it into a clinch before again connecting. Parke brought the fight back to the mat, with Vaculik on his back once again. Parke landed some ground shots from mount and went to lock in a guillotine with Vaculik looking to stand. Parke went back to the ground strikes with Vaculik attempting to roll free in the final seconds. 10-9 Parke.
Round 2: Parke opened the round with stinging kicks to the body of Vaculik, who was taken down. Parke again went back to his ground strikes with Vaculik on his back. Parke attempted a rear-naked choke, but was unable to finish it off. Vaculik was again peppered with shots and again put back down on the mat. Parke continued to land ground strikes to the bell, completely dominating Vaculik. 10-9 Parke.
Norman Parke (UK) def. Richie Vaculik (AUS) via Unanimous Decision.
“I was gutted,” Vaculik said post-fight. “It was the first time I’d represented my country and I wanted to come out with a win. I’m very disappointed.”
Norman Parke was confident in his victory, “This is what I came for, I believe I can go the whole way.”
Photo courtesy of FX Australia. (Follow @AndrewPMMA on Twitter)