After his victory against Donavon Frelow (6-5) in 2020 “The Turkish Delight” had been inactive for two years, with COVID restrictions, injuries and family matters being reasons for his extended absence from the cage.
Earlier this year Ross was scheduled to compete for the Eternal MMA Flyweight Championship against Shaun Etchell (7-3) in March and later April, but it was announced by Eternal MMA that Ross had pulled out entirely due to “unfortunate circumstances”.
Although not unfortunate, the cancellation was due to the 32-year-old getting a call to fight on Dana White’s Contender Series for a shot at a UFC Contract, thus culminating over a decade worth of work for the Queensland native.
His opponent Vinicius Salvador was coming into the fight having won his last three, and with all of his fourteen wins coming inside the distance this fight promised to be a barnburner.
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The fight started off with Salvador on the front foot, Ross tried to throw shots of his own but it was clear that the Aussie was having problems with his opponent’s reach.
After being backed up against the cage, Ross was hit with a huge left hook that sent him crashing to the canvas, Salvador went to finish the fight but Ross made a miraculous recovery to the surprise of those in attendance.
Throughout the rest of the round, Ross would continue to headhunt where he managed to land some big shots. When it looked like he had fully recuperated, Ross was dropped for a second time with a right hand just before the final minute of the round.
Once again The Aussie managed to recover before the round ended.
In the second round, Ross got off to a better start, as he was having more success getting into the pocket against the much rangier fighter. The 32-year-old started to mix up his shots whilst backing Salvador against the cage.
Just as it seemed like Ross was gaining momentum going into the third, he was rocked by another huge right hook before being dropped by the Brazillian.
This time Ross was unable to defend himself and Herb Dean stopped the fight after 4:22 of the second round.
The impressive win for Salvador earned him a UFC Contract.
Despite the loss for The Aussie, UFC President Dana White stated he was impressed by Ross’ durability in the post-fight press conference.
“Let me say this about Ross, much respect to him,” White said, “I was freaking out, I said I have to go in there and tell both these kids how awesome that was, I’ve never done that before.”
“Those kids that fought tonight, are right there, none of them should be disgusted by their performance or upset, they’re right there. If these guys get a couple more wins, they will probably get the call.”
“I know Mick (Maynard) & Sean (Shelby) both loved Ross, so you never know.”
“The thing about coming here is not only do you get incredible experience here, but you get to show the world who you are, even in losing.”
Despite the heartbreaking loss for Ross, his brave first showing in MMA’s premier organisation will most definitely be enough to see him get another shot at a UFC contract somewhere down the lane.
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