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411's MMA Roundtable Preview - UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou
Posted by Dan Plunkett on 01.15.2014





WELCOME:
Middleweights Luke Rockhold and Costas Philippou battle in the main event of UFC Fight Night! In the co-main event, Lorenz Larkin squares off with Brad Tavares. At bantamweight, TJ Dillashaw faces Mike Easton. Also in middleweight action, former Olympian Yoel Romero fights Derek Brunson. Plus, John Moraga takes on Dustin Ortiz, Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia, and more!

THE STAFF:

  • From MMA's 3R's, Jeffrey Harris!

  • From Forgotten Fights, Paul Lapointe!

  • From What's Next, Robert Practor!

  • He's 411's resident interviewer, Jon Butterfield!

  • From Five Quick Rounds, Evan Zivin!

  • From the Locked in the Guillotine MMA News Report, Robert Winfree!



    THE PRELIMINARY CARD:

    First two prelims on UFC Fight Pass, rest on Fox Sports 1.

    Lightweight Bout: Charlie Brenneman vs. Beneil Dariush


    Jeffrey Harris: Charlie Brenneman, Decision
    Paul Lapointe: The Spaniard, Decision, RD3
    Robert Practor: Charlie Brenneman, Decision
    Jon Butterfield: Charlie Brenneman, Decision
    Evan Zivin: Beneil Dariush, TKO, Round 3
    Robert Winfree: Charlie Brenneman, Decision
    The staff picks Charlie Brenneman, 5-1.

    Lightweight Bout: Vinc Pichel vs. Garret Whiteley


    Jeffrey Harris: Vince Pichel, Decision
    Paul Lapointe: Pichel, TKO, RD1
    Robert Practor: Vinc Pichel, TKO, Round 2
    Jon Butterfield: Vinc Pichel, TKO, Round One
    Evan Zivin: Vinc Pichel, TKO, Round 2
    Robert Winfree: Vinc Pichel, Decision
    The staff picks Vinc Pichel, 6-0.

    Flyweight Bout: Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Louis Smolka


    Jeffrey Harris: Alptekin Ozkilic, TKO, Round 2
    Paul Lapointe: Oz, Split Decision, RD3
    Robert Practor: Alptekin Ozkilic, Decision
    Jon Butterfield: Alp Ozkilic, Decision
    Evan Zivin: Alptekin Ozkilic, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Alptekin Ozkilic, Decision
    The staff picks Alptekin Ozkilic, 6-0.

    Middleweight Bout: Trevor Smith vs. Brian Houston


    Jeffrey Harris: Trevor Smith, TKO, Round 1
    Paul Lapointe: Smith, Submission, RD2
    Robert Practor: Trevor Smith, Submission, Round 2
    Jon Butterfield: Trevor Smith, Submission, Round One
    Evan Zivin: Trevor Smith, Submission, Round 1
    Robert Winfree: Trevor Smith, Decision
    The staff picks Trevor Smith, 6-0.

    Lightweight Bout: Isaac Vallie-Flagg vs. Elias Silverio


    Jeffrey Harris: Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Decision
    Paul Lapointe: ISF, Split Decision, 3RD
    Robert Practor: Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Decision
    Jon Butterfield: Elias Silverio, Decision
    Evan Zivin: Isaac Vallie-Flagg, Decision
    Robert Winfree: Isaac Vallie-Flagg, TKO Round 2
    The staff picks Isaac Vallie-Flagg, 5-1.

    Lightweight Bout: Justin Edwards vs. Ramsey Nijem


    Paul Lapointe: Edwards, KO, RD3
    Robert Practor: Justin Edwards, TKO, Round 3
    Evan Zivin: Justin Edwards, TKO, Round 2
    The staff picks Justin Edwards, 3-0.



    THE MAIN CARD:

    Featherweight Bout: Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia


    Jeffrey Harris: Sicilia has been fairly unimpressive since coming off The Ultimate Fighter. To his credit, he managed to save his job in his last fight with a knockout over Godofredo Castro and he did it in hostile territory in Brazil. Cole Miller is a good fighter, who is always exciting to watch, but he's constantly struggled at featherweight. He's constantly made excuses and whined about judges, but the fact is he's had close fights and he looks depleted and weak as a featherweight. He truly believes he's stronger at featherweight, yet his size and reach have not made him look stronger and more dominant at his weight class at all. He's 2-3 as a featherweight. No matter what he says, he got beat up and out striked by Nam Phan. Now all that aside, Sicilia looks like a winnable matchup for Miller. Miller has a very good chin and he's extremely tough to knockout. Miller's grappling skills make me think he'll be able to grind out Sicilia to win the day.

    Winner: Cole Miller, Decision

    Paul Lapointe: Cole Miller is day by day making me not like him more and more. His online comments and interviews are just grating on my nerves but the dude can grapple. Mr. Sicilia has mega power in his hands but is reckless and has next to no gas tank, Miller should keep distance, play his game and then drive it to the floor. Seemingly not the most inspiring of gameplans but one that should work. I am psyched of a crazy submission though.

    Winner: Cole Miller, Decision, RD3

    Robert Practor: Cole Miller is going to do everything in his power to avoid having his lights turned off. He is going to be looking for the submission throughout the fight. I don't think he'll get it, but he will still stifle Sicilia en route to earning the decision.

    Winner: Cole Miller, Decision

    Jon Butterfield: Cole Miller was last seen running from the cage after a decision win over Andy Ogle in England, and he seemed intent on rubbing salt in the wounds of the home fans by citing prior wins over Ross Pearson and European fighter Dennis Siver, but he's back to business in the US against Sam Sicilia. Sam holds KO wins over Cristiano Marcello and Godofredo Castro, but has lost to a pair of strikers in Rony Jason and Maximo Blanco. Fortunately Cole Miller isn't a great striker, so the chances of suffering a similar fate here are slim at best, but Miller is an above-average grappler with a highly creative ground game. Miller isn't the greatest finisher in the world by a long shot, but he's in far better condition and is far more durable than, say, Cristiano Marcello, so his chances of succumbing to Sicilia by strikes are also fairly slim but his chances of losing on points are much higher if he can't find a way to take Sam to the ground nice and early in each of the three rounds. While Miller isn't known as much of a wrestler or a takedown artist, he does usually find a way to embroil his opponents in his quicksand-like jiu-jitsu game, and I think he can do it with Sicilia as well. Pulling guard or clinching at close quarters will be Miller's weapons of choice, and he should prove a little too slick for Sicilia over the course of 15 minutes in a multi-levelled fight.

    Winner: Cole Miller, Decision

    Evan Zivin: This fight is quite a step up in competition for Sicilia, who was last seen scoring a TKO victory over Godofredo "Pepey" last November. That's not to say the fight won't be competitive. For as talented as Cole Miller is, the longest UFC win streak he's been able to put together is 2. He's a good ground fighter but he doesn't handle decent all around fighters too well. Still, he should be good enough to control Sicilia for three rounds if he doesn't submit him before the judges have to be woken up.

    Winner: Cole Miller, Submission, Round 3

    Robert Winfree: This should at least make for a decent opener as Cole Miller is rarely in a boring fight. Miller is a pressure and volume fighter, he just keeps working until you can't keep up anymore. That style doesn't work against the best in the division, but against a guy like Sicilia it should be enough. Sicilia is a wrestler, but has some power in his hands. The fact that Sicilia just barely avoided losing three in a row his last time out makes me more confident in Miller.

    Winner: Cole Miller, Submission Round 2

    The staff picks Cole Miller, 6-0.



    Flyweight Bout: John Moraga vs. Dustin Ortiz


    Jeffrey Harris: John Moraga looks to rebound after getting dominated and submitted in his bid for the UFC flyweight title against Demetrious Johnson. While Moraga was completely outclassed by Johnson, that was only his second career loss and the first in his UFC tenure. Moraga's only other loss in his career was to John Dodson by decision. Dodson is also a contender and top in their weight class. Moraga will be able to dominate Ortiz and win out this one.

    Winner: John Moraga, Decision

    Paul Lapointe: Moraga may have gotten a title shot a little too early in his career, UFC or otherwise but he is somebody to watch into the future in my humble opinion. Dustin survived by the skin of his teeth up in Brazil when he managed to win his last bout. Was he all that impressive? I did not think so, also pre-UFC he took home a dubious split call as well, so he needs to wow me.

    Winner: Moraga, TKO, RD2

    Robert Practor: Losing to Flyweight kingpin and contender for Fighter of the Year Demetrious Johnson is nothing to be ashamed about and we shouldn't forget that John Moraga is indeed a top 5 fighter in the division. I see Moraga looking very good throughout the fight and picking up a decision win.

    Winner: John Moraga, Decision

    Jon Butterfield: John Moraga succumbed to a late submission in his title fight with Demetrious Johnson, but he was well on his way to losing that bout on points in any event. Still, wins over Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso have shown that Moraga is one of the better flyweights presently plying their trade in the UFC, while Dustin Ortiz is nowhere near as proven. Two low-level wins on the Strikeforce prelims were Ortiz's proudest moments prior to a TKO victory over Jose Maria Tome in his UFC debut, but when he came up against then-top ranked fighter Ian McCall in the years previous, Ortiz fell short. It's likely to be a similar result here, as Ortiz doesn't appear to be as good a wrestler as Moraga, and so Moraga will be the one determining where this fight takes place. Moraga is a talented striker, a good level-changer, and is well-positioned to take this fight by any number of means. I'll give Ortiz credit for being a durable opponent, but I expect Moraga to finish with strikes in the third and final round.

    Winner: John Moraga, TKO, Round Three

    Evan Zivin: This will be Moraga's first fight since losing by fifth round submission to the flyweight king, Demetrious Johnson. It was a very good effort but there wasn't a second in that fight that Moraga looked better than the champion. Moraga is still a very good fighter, the type that can handle almost everyone else in his weight class. That being said, he should have no problems with Dustin Ortiz. Ortiz made his UFC debut in November with a late TKO over Jose Maria Tome. We'll see how Ortiz does against someone who can pressure him but I predict Moraga will be able to take this fight relatively easily.

    Winner: John Moraga, Submission, Round 2

    Robert Winfree: John Moraga was last seen being submitted by Demetrious Johnson when he fought for the flyweight title. Dustin Ortiz won his UFC debut in his last fight, but Moraga is no joke and has proven himself capable of competing at the highest level. Unless Ortiz has improved a whole lot since his last outing Moraga is the clear choice.

    Winner: John Moraga, TKO Round 3

    The staff picks John Moraga, 6-0.



    Middleweight Bout: Yoel Romero vs. Derek Brunson


    Jeffrey Harris: Derek Brunson had one of the ugliest fights ever in his UFC debut against Chris Leben. Though he rebounded and submitted his next opponent Brian Houston at Fight for the Troops 3. Romero is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling who has looked very good since his drop to middleweight. Middleweight definitely looks like a better weight class for Romero, and his wrestling background makes me think Brunson won't be able to get him to the ground. Romero will eventually catch Brunson and put him out.

    Winner: Yoel Romero, TKO, Round 2

    Paul Lapointe: If Yoel has put his work boots on like he has his last few UFC appearances he may actually be somebody to fear at middleweight even at 36. He is a proven wrestler, has ridiculous power and seemingly is able to adapt to an involving gameplan. Brunson though fundamentally sounds is a little too one dimensional for me and I see that being his downfall.

    Winner: Romero, KO, RD3

    Robert Practor: This could be a real fun fight between two solid Middleweight fighters. I see Romero earning another TKO here.

    Winner: Yoel Romero, TKO, Round 2

    Jon Butterfield: I remember picking Yoel Romero to win his UFC debut against Clifford Starks when all people knew about Romero was that he stank up the arena in his Strikeforce debut against Feijao Cavalcante that seemed crazy to anyone unaware that this strong, experienced wrestler possessed legitimate KO power in his hands, but now after back-to-back finishes of Clifford Starks and Rony Markes such ignorance is a thing of the past. The German-based Cuban will now take on Derek Brunson, who impressed with a shock win over Chris Leben before besting rookie Brian Houston in just 48 seconds. Without meaning to take anything away from the once-highly touted Strikeforce prospect, the win over Leben has meant less and less every time "The Crippler" has fought since, and Houston looks too inexperienced to be competing in the UFC. Romero will almost certainly be able to keep this fight on the feet, where he appears to have the advantage in terms of his boxing and his power. Romero's striking accuracy is higher, his striking defence is tighter, and while he's still not on Feijao's level, he should be able to win this one if he can either end it early or prove his cardio over three more rounds.

    Winner: Yoel Romero, KO, Round One

    Evan Zivin: I like Yoel Romero. He is a world champion freestyle wrestler, winning silver in the 2000 Olympics. Since then he has developed a devastating striking game with all 6 of his wins coming by (T)KO, including a flying knee KO of Clifford Starks in his UFC debut and a KO of Ronny Markes in his last fight. Brunson is a decent wrestler with a decision win over Chris Leben and a submission of Brian Houston. This could be a very violent fight but I feel like it may come down to whoever can land the first significant strike. If Brunson can land a few good shots on Romero, he can easily win this fight. However, I will say that Romero comes in more aggressive and throws everything he has at Brunson until he drops.

    Winner: Yoel Romero, TKO, Round 2

    Robert Winfree: Yoel Romero rather quietly became a guy I'm interested in seeing fight. He has a phenomenal wrestling background, he won a silver medal at the Olympics in 2000, and has proven to have serious power in his hands. His fight with Rafael Cavalcante was bad, but he was also seriously in over his head at the time. Derek Brunson had a great performance his last time out, but beating Chris Leben in his debut and Brian Houston in his next outing aren't exactly buzz worthy fights. I think Romero takes this one.

    Winner: Yoel Romero, TKO Round 1

    The staff picks Yoel Romero, 6-0.



    Bantamweight Bout: TJ Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton


    Jeffrey Harris: This is a very good fight despite all the unfair criticism against this card. Both of these fighters have proven themselves as top level bantamweight fighters as they are No. 6 (Dillashaw) and No. 7 (Easton) in the division. Dillashaw had gone on an impressive 4-0 run before he lost a close decision to Raphael Assuncao. Easton on the other hand has lost his last two, and he could be in danger of being cut if he were to lose his third straight fight. Dillashaw has improved a great deal since he lost to John Dodson. Easton, while he is a tough guy, is not entirely exceptional in any area. He's won most of his fights by decision. He's not very good off his back. He's not much of a threat with his submissions or power. Dillashaw just looks like he has more ways to win, plus with his wrestling abilities, I think that makes him a shoe-in to dominate this fight and secure the victory.

    Winner: TJ Dillashaw, Submission, Round 2

    Paul Lapointe: Easton really is like a mini hulk but he just does not have the RAGE factor to go with the moniker. That being out of the way he is also reeling from two previous losses and has only finished low level replacement talent. Team Alpha male may have proven to be falliable lately after finally losing a few but one thing Bang Ludwig has imparted on his guys is a willingness to try and finish. TJ himself is a developing prospect too and I have always though Easton was well overrated, I hope he finishes the muscle mass but it may wind up being like smacking a big rock with a pick axe, you do some damge and leave a mark or two but it still winds up just standing there and looking at ya.

    Winner: Dillashaw, Decision, RD3

    Robert Practor: This is my pick for Fight of the Night and I believe TJ Dillashaw will bounce back from his loss to the very tough Raphael Assuncao and get the decision victory.

    Winner: TJ Dillashaw, Decision

    Jon Butterfield: Mike Easton is in need of a win here, as he suddenly finds himself staring down the barrel of a third straight defeat. Easton was on good form prior to back-to-back decision defeats to Raphael Assuncao and Brad Pickett, while Dillashaw was also out-pointed by Assuncao in his most recent outing to snap a four-fight win streak in the UFC. While UFC.com describes Easton as having "unbelievable striking", it's hard to see where that comes from since his only KO finish in 5 UFC fights has come against Byron Bloodworthy in his debut outing and his percentage of strikes landed is lower than Dillashaw's (and most other bantamweights for that matter). Still, both these fights are well-conditioned and extremely durable, so you can bet your bottom dollar that this is going the distance the key probably being whether or not Dillashaw, of Team Alpha Male no less, can impose his wrestling game on Easton on a consistent basis. Dillashaw has shown a great aptitude at finishing opponents on the ground in his UFC tenure, and can be both unpredictable with his level-changes as well as single-minded and tenacious. I'd prefer Dillashaw's chances even more if he employed the latter strategy, as I feel the stocky Easton will be overmatched if planted on his back, and Dillashaw really only needs to do that for two of the three rounds to guarantee a victory on the cards. Surely TJ can achieve that.

    Winner: TJ Dillashaw, Decision

    Evan Zivin: This feels like one of those fights that was set up just because they couldn't find anyone else to match up Dillashaw with. Am I saying that I don't think Mike Easton is a very good fighter? Yes, I am. His biggest UFC win is a decision over Ivan Menjivar. Since then he's lost decisions to Raphael Assuncao and Brad Pickett. Dillashaw fought Assuncao in his last fight and took a split decision loss even though the majority of people, myself included, felt the Alpha Male fighter won. Dillashaw has put in consistently good performances in his UFC career and, while I don't think he'll be able to finish the very durable Easton, he should be able to outpace The Lil' Hulk and use his superior technique to land more effective strikes and tire Easton out in route to a decision victory.

    Winner: TJ Dillashaw, Decision

    Robert Winfree: Mike Easton has been completely unimpressive in his UFC run. He had a great look, good grappling credentials, and a pretty good run outside of the UFC. Sadly he's been unable to do anything of note now that he's in the UFC. TJ Dillashaw is great at beating up cab drivers, but tends to lose if he's in there with a real fighter. Easton isn't a cab driver, but he's also not exactly setting the world on fire. This is really Dillashaw's fight to lose based on previous information.

    Winner: TJ Dillashaw, Decision

    The staff picks TJ Dillashaw, 6-0.



    Middleweight Bout: Lorenz Larkin vs. Brad Tavares


    Jeffrey Harris: Believe it or not, Tavares is 6-1 in the UFC and has won his last four fights in the middleweight division. The reason you might not remember it though is because many of those wins were fairly unmemorable fights that all went the distance. Both fighters are prone to not being able to finish. For this fight, I see it going the same way. I think Larkin will outpoint Tavares in this case with his superior boxing and striking. Despite the loss to Carmont, Larkin has beaten some tough names such as Chris Camozzi in his UFC debut and the now UFC welterweight title contender Robbie Lawler.

    Winner: Lorenz Larkin, Decision

    Paul Lapointe: Tavares is a kid that has a ton of raw potential but he hides behind the point cards, ready and willing to leave it to the judges. Same thing with Larkin he is predisposed to going the distance, the question is who can come out the gate and be aggressive to steal the first two rounds. I see that guy being Tavares and then coasting through the third and playing defense like he did with Bubba.

    Winner: Tavares, Decision, RD3

    Robert Practor: Of note is that Lorenz Larkin is the last man to defeat Robbie Lawler before his fantastic run in 2013. I see Larkin picking up the decision here and making a claim for a top 10 Middleweight next.

    Winner: Lorenz Larkin, Decision

    Jon Butterfield: Expect this fight to be competed mostly on the feet, with the perennially underrated Brad Tavares looking to make it five wins in a row against former Strikeforce stand out Lorenz Larkin. Neither of these guys finish fights, and by the same token neither have ever BEEN finished, so it's highly unlikely that will change here. Tavares is by far the more likely to fighter to try to take this to the ground, but like I say, expect this one to be a stand-up affair, where I feel Larkin may be a little over-egged as a result of a 2012 win over an as-yet-unresurgent Robbie Lawler. Larkin probably DOES possess the better boxing, but Tavares is much more likely to mix things up with both his striking, clinch game and occasional takedown attempt, and I prefer Tavares' work rate.

    Winner:Brad Tavares, Decision

    Evan Zivin: This is a tough fight to predict. Both men are strong grapplers with good boxing who know how to dictate a fight. Larkin has shown that with wins over Gian Villante, Robbie Lawler, and Chris Camozzi. Brad Tavares has shown that with an 11-1 pro record and wins over Phil Baroni, Tom Watson, and Riki Fukuda. Granted, neither man has really faced top-flight competition (Larkin did beat Lawler but it was the unmotivated middleweight version). That's partly what makes this hard to predict. Tavares may have the advantage if the fight takes place primarily in the clinch or on the ground, but if Larkin starts landing his punches, things could go downhill for the TUF alum in a hurry. Eh, I'll go with Larkin.

    Winner: Lorenz Larkin, Decision

    Robert Winfree: I really don't like this fight. More than any other fight on this card, I feel this card has the least chance of being exciting. Brad Tavares has been completely and utterly forgettable in his UFC tenure. Lorenz Larkin hasn't been doing anything of note either, so hopefully you can understand my general lack of excitement for this one. Brad Tavares is a grinder, but isn't the most explosive with his takedowns and Larkin is pretty good at avoiding takedowns from the clinch so I'm going with him.

    Winner: Lorenz Larkin, Decision

    The staff picks Lorenz Larkin, 4-2.



    Middleweight Bout: Luke Rockhold vs. Costas Philippou


    Jeffrey Harris: A good matchup between two top 10 UFC middleweights. Rockhold came into the UFC with a pretty impressive record. As Strikeforce middleweight champion, he defeated Jacare to win the title and later defended it against Tim Kennedy. Philippou was on a fairly impressive win streak before he got dominated and out wrestled by Francis Carmont. Both fighters have solid striking. Rockhold is the better grappler of the two, which could be a problem for Philippou. Rockhold's coming off a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort, and he only fought once last year due to injuries. Injuries have been a recurring setback from him as he had a period where he didn't fight for over a year and a half, granted he came back and defeated Jacare to win the title. Before this fight, Philippou had actually displayed some solid takedown defense in most of his UFC outings. So, this is a tough fight to call. I'm predicting Rockhold will try and exploit the grappling game on his end and we'll find out how good Philippou's ground game has improved, if at all. Rockhold comes out of this the winner.

    Winner: Luke Rockhold, Submission, Round 2

    Paul Lapointe: One thing that Costa has proven since leaving Serra-Longo is that he seems wholly dependent on just standing and bangin. His last bout he was content at just laying on his back and accepting his fate. If Rockhold can get past being a bit disengaged due to fear of spin kick death he should try to outgrapple Costa to break him and then take home some momentum and credibility.

    Winner: Rockhold, Submission, RD4

    Robert Practor: Luke Rockhold hopes to rebound from his head-kick knockout loss to Vitor Belfort and not let his UFC run be a dud. He had a lot of hype coming into his UFC debut after the Strikeforce acquisition but I never thought he would advance past the middle of the pack in the UFC's Middleweight division. Rockhold should get the win here but I see it being by decision in a very tedious fight.

    Winner: Luke Rockhold, Decision

    Jon Butterfield: Costa Philippou is a good boxer who flatters to deceive in terms of KO power. Certainly Costa puts a lot of himself in his punches, and with usually solid takedown defences, why not? Francis Carmont may have had Costa's number in the wrestling stakes, but Rockhold certainly won't, so this is all about who can prove more effective on the feet. Rockhold is undeniably the busier striker, and his high-volume style could threaten to overwhelm Costa if Costa cannot counterstrike effectively, but that in itself remains to be seen. I do rate Costa's technique, but I think he's Paul Daley (though nowhere near as dangerous in terms of KO power) to Rockhold's Nick Diaz, and Costa has been fortunate to have come up against numerous ponderous strikers so far in his UFC career, none of whom are as efficient and effective as Rockhold, allowing him to look particularly good. Still, if he tags Rockhold, Costa will drive forward mercilessly and threaten to inflict the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion with his second successive defeat. Like I say though, Rockhold's defences are better, his workrate is higher, his accuracy is superior, and while there STILL won't be too much in this one, Rockhold has to go in as the favourite and as Costa wilts under the pressure of Rockhold's assault, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see his gas tank fade and Rockhold lock on a submission in one of the later rounds.

    Winner: Luke Rockhold, Submission, Round Four

    Evan Zivin: Luke Rockhold, as the former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, entered the UFC amid much fanfare when he made his debut against Vitor Belfort last May. Many felt that, with the performances he had in in his previous promotion that he should have no problem taking out The Phenom. Yeah, that didn't happen. He actually got spinkicked in the face. Hard. It's been quite a while since that fight and I have to imagine that Luke is hungry to get back in the cage and put that last fight behind him. He should be able to do that against Costa Philippou. Costa is coming off a rather awful fight and decision loss to Francis Carmont at UFC 165 and needs a win to stay in the top 10 of the middleweight rankings. Costa's biggest win was against Tim Boetsch in a fight that saw Tim get cut up, poked in the eye, attacked by a pack of wolves, and run over by a bus a few times. In other words, it wasn't a very impressive win for Costa and I think Rockhold is miles ahead of him as far as overall skill and technique go. There is a chance that Costa can catch Luke and put him to sleep but I don't see that happening. Luke should use his height and reach to keep Costa on the outside, stick and move with his punches and kicks, and put Costa on his butt a few times. That sounds like a winning strategy to me. It's either that or Costa will put a hole in Luke's chest, just like Ray Longo wants him to. One or the other. Should be a good fight.

    Winner: Luke Rockhold, TKO, Decision

    Robert Winfree: The loser here is not only out of the top fifteen, but will have a tough road to rebuild their career. Costa Philippou has really solid boxing, but his grappling is pretty horrible. Luke Rockhold is good enough everywhere to fight where his opponent is weakest, and in this case that means clinching and grappling until Costa is done resisting, likely in the third or fourth round.

    Winner: Luke Rockhold, Submission Round 4

    The staff picks Luke Rockhold, 6-0.



    Remember to join 411's coverage of UFC Fight Night 35 on Wednesday!





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