A Chance to Impress in Duluth (UFC Fight Night 35 Review)

ufc_fn35UFC Fight Night 35 would mark the first event in North America for the new year but it would be much more important for the fighters involved. Many would look at the fight card and see no major stars creating the assumption that it would be a bad fight card. That would not necessarily be true as every fighter on the card would have a reason to go all out in every fight. The names were not big but the stakes were as big for these fighters as many in the major fights. The fighters that populated the UFC Fight Night 35 card would feature fighters that were either fighting for the UFC lives or fighters who were looking to make it to those major fights. This is the lifeblood of the UFC and although there may not have been as much excitement built around these fights there was plenty to watch for. These are the fighters that will make an impact in the near future and could even become the next champions of their weight divisions. First, like every other champion, they would need to pass their first tests against the other up and coming fighters in the division. As a result the fighters on the main card would see this fight as a potential chance for them to impress the UFC. They would set foot on a main card in front of plenty of fans and on a national stage with fans watching from around the world. More importantly Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva were watching and looking to see who could become the story of 2014. They were looking for impressive fights that would make fighters fan favorites and lead to a demand for them to fight the top ranked in the division and eventually move their way to the top of the divisions. In every fight on the night there was at least one, if not both fighters, looking to make an impact to start their year off. Two of these fighters were I the Middleweight division and looking to take advantage of the newfound openness of a division without the most dominant champion ever sitting at the top. With Anderson Silva set to return later this year the time was now to make an impact and try to earn a title shot against Chris Weidman before Silva steps in and becomes a gatekeeper to the title. Costas Philippou and Luke Rockhold were looking to do just that after both coming off of losses. Philippou had taken a loss to a young rising star in the division in Francis Carmont while Rockhold suffered his defeat to the #1 contender Vitor Belfort. Before the losses both fighters were seen as potential title fighters but would need to prove that they were still at that level when they faced each other. A win would mean that they would move back into the conversation and begin a run at the title to start the year. A loss would mean a fall in the standings and a longer road to climb to get back into the mix while they toil against lower ranked fighters. There was plenty on the line for either fighter, like many of the fighters on the card. And neither would want to lose. That would mean that they would have to try to impose their will in the fight as both would be looking for different things. As a former boxer Philippou was hoping to keep the fight standing and earn a KO with his superior technical striking. Rockhold, although a great striker, would likely look to take the fight to the ground and use his superior wrestling to take the win. The fight would not go the way that many had expected though as Rockhold would continue to stand. Over the last few fight Rockhold has fallen in love with the standup game but after being KO’s by Vitor Belfort many would expect him to take the fight to the ground against a very good boxer. Rockhold had his own ideas though as he would keep the fight standing and begin to get to Philippou. He would almost end the fight early catching Philippou and forcing the boxer to clinch. Then Rockhold would start unleashing kicks to the midsection of Philippou that would have their effect. Rockhold would unleash a big kick right to the liver of Philippou that would send him back to the cage leaving Rockhold to throw another big kick that would drop Philippou. The fight would end with Philippou on the ground holding his stomach after a number of big kicks to the midsection leaving Rockhold with a TKO win. It would be a bad loss for Philippou and would be his second loss in a row that is likely to see him fall out of the top rankings and force him to climb a much longer path back to the top. For Rockhold the fight would show that he was more than his fight against Vitor Belfort. He showed that he has a great striking game by earning the TKO and will likely move to the top 5 of the middleweight division as he hopes to keep winning and earn a rematch against Vitor Belfort that could be for a championship if Belfort continues to win his next fight.

Philippou and Rockhold were not the only fighter trying to make an impression as the rest of the main card would feature many fighters looking to take their opportunity. Among all of them there was one fighter that stood out as a fighter to keep an eye on. Yoel Romero had impressed many at UFC Fight for the Troops with a third round KO in a fight that he seemed to be losing. He would wipe away any damage he had taken in the first two rounds to come out with a big KO in the final round after he would have likely lost. The fight and the will that the former Olympic Silver Medalist would show impressed some and his next fight would become a potential springboard to becoming a true rising star in the Middleweight division. In his way was another fighter looking to become a rising star in Derek Brunson. Brunson had also made an impression at UFC Fight for the Troops when he earned a first round submission that would show potential to become a true contender. Romero would overshadow Brunson in the fight though as everyone was watching the Cuban waiting to see what he could do in his third fight in the UFC. Brunson seemed to take a bit of offence to that and he would take it out in the octagon. Romero seemed utterly ineffective in the fight as Brunson would continue to pepper him with shots and would take the advantage against a great wrestler on the ground. Brunson was on his way to a win until Romero did what he has become known for unloading a big left hand that would drop Brunson. As Brunson went down Romero jumped on the chance and started his ground and pound. Romero would begin to unleash big elbows to the side of Brunson who would turtle up and force the referee to stop the fight. Brunson looked to be on his way to a win but it would all end and his chance to make everyone take a look at him would pass. Meanwhile Romero would take the win in familiar fashion waiting until the very last round to unleash his big punches and earn a TKO. The win is sure to make people notice Romero and is sure to put him in the top 15 fighters in the division and will begin his climb up the rankings and could potentially fight for a title in the future.


Fight Bonuses

Submission of the Night
The night would start off well for Cole Miller who would fight Charlie Brenneman in the opening fight of the card and would earn a $50,000 bonus for his efforts as he would sink in a Rear Naked Choke in the first round

Knockout of the Night
The liver kicks would have their effect as Luke Rockhold would unleash some solid kicks to Costas Philippou and the kicks would drop Philippou to give Rockhold the TKO win and the $50,000 bonus for KO of the Night

Fight of the Night
Derek Brunson would rule the entire fight but that wouldn’t deter Yoel Romero who would win the fight with a 3rd round KO but both fighters would walk away with something as they would both earn $50,000 for the Fight of the Night


Fight Results

Main Event:
Luke Rockhold def. Costas Philippou
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Main Card:
Brad Tavares def. Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin
(Unanimous Decision)

TJ Dillashaw def. Mike “The Hulk” Easton
(Unanimous Decision)

Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero def. Derek Brunson
(TKO; Rd. 3)

John Moraga def. Dustin Ortiz
(Split Decision)

Cole “Magrinho” Miller def. Sam Sicilia
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

Ramsey Nijem def. Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards
(Unanimous Decision)

Elias Silverio def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
(Unanimous Decision)

Trevor “Hot Sauce” Smith def. Brian “BHue” Houston
(Split Decision)

Louis “Da Last Samurai” Smolka def. Alpetkin “The Polish Delight” Ozkilic
(Unanimous Decision)

Vinc “From Hell” Pichel def. Garett “Goodnight” Whiteley
(Unanimous Decision)

Beneil Dariush def. Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)


Upcoming Events:

UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (Saturday January 25th; 8:00 pm ET)
Chicago, Illinois (United Centre)
Main Event: Benson “Smooth” Henderson vs. Josh “The Punk” Thomson
Notable: Stipe Miocic vs. Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga
Notable: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Adriano Martins

UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II (Saturday February 1st; 10:00 pm ET)
Newark, New Jersey (Prudential Center)
Main Event: Renan “The Baron” Barao vs. “The California Kid” Urijah Faber [Bantamweight Title]
Notable: Jose “Junior” Aldo vs. Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas [Featherweight Title]
Notable: Frank Mir vs. Alistair “The Reem” Overeem

UFC Fight Night 36: Machida Mousasi (Saturday February 15th; 7:00 pm ET)
Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil (Arena Jaraguá)
Main Event: Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi
Notable: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Francis “Limitless” Carmont
Notable: Erick Silva vs. Takenori Sato

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