Luke Rockhold is a high level MMA talent, that is something many fans might have been in danger of forgetting with the way that he was violently KO’ed by Vitor Belfort. This is a man who beat Jacare Souza to win the Strikeforce title, no minor feat by any means.
Tonight he reminded of his true abilities, taking on Costas Philippou and dismantling him in the first round. Philippou isn’t a great fighter, his #10 ranking was almost certainly too high coming into the fight, but he’s a tough guy to finish. Rockhold just used his body attack, something he does as well as almost anyone in the game, to hurt, drop and finish him.
An immediate chance to rematch Vitor Belfort probably isn’t in the cards, nor is a fight with the other man he called out, Michael Bisping. But there are plenty of interesting and competitive fights at 185 for Rockhold in the UFC and it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that he ends up in a title shot sometime in the next year.
- In the co-main event Brad Tavares got a big win that may or may not earn him more respect. Lorenz Larkin was either ridiculously timid or spent too much time looking for the perfect shot. Larkin simply didn’t get any offense going which allowed Tavares to do little more than throw body and leg kicks to take the win. Not taking anything away from Tavares but I’m not exactly sold yet.
- Who I am sold on is T.J. Dillashaw. Dillashaw busted up Mike Easton, making a very tough and talented guy look completely out of his depth from bell to bell. Dillashaw has developed into a very complete fighter, able to use diverse striking attacks and wrestling to make a guy like Easton look average.
- Yoel Romero had a ridiculously good comeback in his fight against Derek Brunson and all anyone wants to talk about is if Romero pooped his pants. Brunson looked better than he had in his entire career for two rounds, but then he gassed out, his movement slowed and his hands dropped. All that allowed Romero to catch him and get the finish. But…he might have pooped his pants.
- I think Dustin Ortiz deserved the nod over John Moraga, but I don’t think anyone is going to remember this on any sort of list of great robberies in the sport within a few months. Moraga is talented but has far too many flaws to be as good as some have hoped. Not that he can’t improve in the future, but right now there are issues that will crop up again and again.
- Sam Sicilia is fun, but he came into the fight with Cole Miller with a gameplan that seemed to revolve around nothing but big right hands. Miller proved the effectiveness of straight punching by moving around, picking his spots and repeatedly hurting, and then finishing, Sicilia. Miller has two straight wins for the first time since 2010. October 2006 to September 2007 was the last time Miller won more than two straight, that was a four fight streak.
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