James Krause vs. Ross Pearson among three fights added to July’s Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale in Las Vegas

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Three new fights were casually added to July’s Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale on Wednesday night, with Scott Askham vs. Anthony Smith, James Krause vs. Ross Pearson, and Anton Zafir vs. Li Jingliang revealed during the UFC Tonight broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

Askham, 27, enters the Octagon for the fifth time. The English middleweight has alternated losses and wins thus far, dropping decisions to Magnus Cedenblad and Krzysztof Jotko while knocking out Antonio dos Santos, Jr. and Chris Dempsey. Smith, who made his first appearance in the UFC in 2013, returned to the organization in February on the strength of a seven fight winning streak. He made it eight in a row with a decision win over Leonardo Augusto Leleco at UFC Fight Night 83.

Krause fought on that same card in Pittsburgh in February, winning his second straight with a decision over Shane Campbell. The 29-year-old lightweight is now 4-3 overall in the UFC. Former TUF winner Pearson has been alternating losses and wins for the last two years, going 4-4 in that stretch. He was on the “win” side in his most recent outing, edging out a split decision against Chad Laprise in Australia at UFC Fight Night 85.

Queensland’s Zafir was knocked out by James Moontasri in his debut last November in Melbourne, while Jingliang hopes to bounce back from a submission loss to Keita Nakamura last September in Japan that dropped him to 2-2 in the UFC.

The TUF 23 Finale airs live on Fox Sports 1 on July 8 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be headlined by the Women’s Strawweight Championship bout between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha.

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