The two fighters that will compete in the main event of UFC Fight Night 35 are both coming off losses that ended lengthy winning streaks. Luke Rockhold saw his nine-fight winning streak come to a close courtesy of a Vitor Belfort spinning kick. His opponent, Constantinos Philippou had a five-fight winning streak end when Francis Carmont grinded out a unanimous decision over Philippou at UFC 165.
Belfort’s knockout of Rockhold was memorable; Carmont’s win over Philippou was not. It was a long 15-minute slog that saw Carmont take top position and control the fight on the ground while inflicting minimal damage on his opponent. Philippou is hoping that Rockhold, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a staunch proponent of his own brand of legit-su, delivers a more exciting fight for the fans that will watch Wednesday’s event at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.
“I want to get in there and show everyone that that wasn’t me last time,” Philippou told MMAJunkie radio. “I’m hoping for an exciting fight. I really don’t want to have the same fight as last time.”
Philippou, a strong boxer, was unable to implement his game plan against Carmont, spending much of that three round contest unsuccessfully attempting to get to his feet. Philippou described that fight, “I didn’t take a lot of damage, he just got control. (It was) A boring fight. He laid on top of me. It was my fault, I wasn’t able to get him off of me, but I think if I win this fight everything will be forgotten.”
After answering the question of what went wrong against Carmont, Philippou addressed why he left Team Serra-Longo ahead of UFC 165. Philippou laughed off the thought that the move had anything to do with differences between himself and current UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman who continues to train with the Long Island based Matt Serra and Ray Longo. Philippou said the move to Bellmore Kickboxing Academy was just something he felt he had to do, “It was a personal issue that I had. I just needed to go to a different place to find myself, and that’s what I did.”
Despite losing his first fight after that move Philippou said, “I’m in a good place in my life and I’m happy.”
There’s no doubt a win over Rockhold on January 15 and a move up the middleweight rankings will make the 34-year old Philippou even happier.
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