Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 35 event went down out of Duluth, GA without much controversy. In the main event, former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold redeemed himself after a disappointing performance in his UFC debut. His opponent Constantinos Philippou never put him in trouble before being TKO’d in the first round by a pair of brutal kicks to the body. With Luke topping the winners list, take a look at the rest of the winners and losers from the mid-week UFC card.
Luke Rockhold – After two successful defenses of his Strikeforce middleweight title, Rockhold became a notch on the belt of Vitor Belfort’s return to contendership in his UFC debut. He needed a dominant performance here to maintain his status as a top middleweight and he earned it. In the two and a half minute fight, he was never in danger then finished Philippou with rarely seen devastating kicks to the body.
T.J. Dillashaw – While Easton had faced more adversity, both he and Dillashaw have struggled against the top (or future top) of the division. But, it was Dillashaw who proved himself a step above. From the opening bell of their fight he barely saw himself in any trouble from his opponent. He showed tonight that it’s time for him to face a top-flight competitor.
Yoel Romero – The former Olympian did not look good in the first two rounds of his middleweight fight. It wasn’t a great performance and doesn’t inspire confidence that he’ll ever be a contender, by Romero proved he’s never out of a fight. He came back with big blows in the final round to take over and finish the fight against Derek Brunson.
Elias Silverio – Isaac Vallie-Flagg isn’t exactly the deep-end of the lightweight division, but he’s certainly a tough test for a debuting fighter. Silverio rose to the occasion and dominated the fight from bell to bell. There may be question about the specific legality of the point-losing knee he threw in the second round, but he definitely proved he can be a competitor in a very deep division.
Beneil Dariush – Not only was he making his UFC debut, but Dariush had to deal with a late injury replacement in Charlie Brenneman returning to the UFC. He rose to the occasion with a quick victory that caught the eyes of the limited viewership of the Fight Pass prelims.
Constantinos Philippou – Costas earned his top ten position in the UFC with a controversial and questionable-blow filled win over Tim Boetsch. Since then he’s gone 0-2 in one lack luster performance and now and dominated loss.
Mike Easton – After starting his UFC career at 3-0, Easton has ended up with a .500 record. In each fight he’s faced the upper echelon of the bantamweight roster, so he’s not in danger of losing his spot on the UFC roster. However, if he wants to advance to the top of the division, he needs to make adjustments in his training.
Sam Sicilia – He made a big impression with his TUF debut, then again with a knockout of Cristano Marcello in the Tuf 15 Finale. But, he hasn’t been able to perform consistently since then. Since dropping to Featherweight following the TUF Finale, Sicilia has now gone 1-3. It’s unlikely he gets another shot in the Octagon.
Brian Houston – The middleweight had his second attempt at UFC success and once again fell short. Had he brought a Leonard Garcia-type fight against Trevor Smith he may have had a chance to hold on to his UFC contract. Unfortunately, he brought an uninspired performance and will most likely be dropped from the roster following this showing.
Charlie Brenneman – Brenneman went from making waves in a huge upset of Rick Story at UFC on Versus 4, to a disappointing 1-3 run that lead to him being cut from the promotion. After a 4-fight win streak outside the UFC he got called back up to the big leagues against a debuting fighter. He even got the fight lowered to lightweight on very short notice. None of those factors aided him, though. He was dropped early by Beneil Dariush and finished shortly after. He’ll probably get one more chance in the Octagon for stepping up on short notice, but it’s unlikely he sustains any sort of remarkable UFC career.
SBN coverage of UFC Fight Night 35
Here’s Kid Nate’s take on the card:
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