Australian Shannon Ross won the respect of UFC president Dana White during his valiant performance in a Contender Series fight.
Ross was the favourite going into his bout with Brazilian Vinicius Salvador, with the Gold Coast mechanic having the advantage of added experience.
The 33-year-old, who was competing in the biggest fight of his life on Wednesday, fought hard after being stunned with two knockdowns in the first round.
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Refusing to give up, Ross remained in the fight on the back of his rapid work in defence and accurate attacks.
Ross had stunned the commentators after the first knockdown in particular, as they questioned how the Australian managed to get back to his feet.
But Ross was rewarded for his efforts with a unique prize, as Dana White gave him a standing ovation at the end of the round.
“Vinicius Salvador coming in with this flying kick, right to the liver, I am amazed that Shannon Ross is still standing after that,” commentator Laura Sanko said after the first round.
“Then the hooks afterward to follow it up. For him (Ross) to be able to wrestle back up and continue in this fight is just incredible.
“Then again Salvador connects with a perfectly placed right hook but man how tough is Ross!”
The second round was all Ross’ until it wasn’t.
One punch can change everything in combat sports and that’s exactly what happened as Salvador dropped the Australian for the third and final time to end things.
Ross was controlling the second round with some clinical strikes, and he had the Brazilian up against the cage with just over a minute to go in the round.
But Salvador, who looked comfortable despite the wave of punches that was coming his way, landed a right hook to Ross’ chin and sent him stumbling backwards.
A right hook then brought an end to the fight, with Ross collapsing near the wall of the cage.
White could be seen saying “oh my f****** God” as Salvador unleashed his final tirade on the Australian.
White then entered the ring after the fight to congratulate both fighters which, as the commentators mentioned, is not common in the UFC.
“We do not see that very often, Dana walking into the Octagon to congratulate the fighters,” commentator Dan Hellie said.
Ross’ road to Dana White’s Contender Series has been an incredible tale of sacrifice and dedication.
The 33-year-old had to tell his wife that he’d cost the family $20,000, during the pandemic, after taking a fight in Abu Dhabi.
‘The costs of hotel quarantine, we were OK with that. Had already decided we were happy to wear that for my career,” Ross said.
“But learning the only flight home for three months were going to cost me $15,000? Yeah, that call started with ‘hey babe… aaah … I’ve just lost us a bit of cash.”