The Fight Report: UFC Fight Night 35

| January 8, 2014 | 11:37 am | Reply

UFC Fight Night 35 Main EventUFC cards are as rare in Georgia as snow, yet Dana and the boys have brought an impressive UFC Fight Night 35 card to fill out our Wednesday night. Our main event features two top-tier Middleweights looking to get another one in the win column, as Luke Rockhold takes on Costa Philippou.

We have plenty of other 185 pounders and more on deck at UFC Fight Night 35, so let’s take a look at the action.

Luke Rockhold vs Constantinos Philippou: The last Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold had a rough start in his UFC career at the hands of Vitor Belfort, but will look to reestablish himself as he battles boxer Costa Philippou. Rockhold is one of the better submission wrestlers in the business right now with a unique game that works with his body type, using long strikes to force his opponents to overcommit, which in turn sets up his counter grappling. Against Philippou, he faces someone, whom has the power to hurt him, but has a poor build and lacks the skills to effectively work against him.  Philippou could make this interesting by standing his ground and working at countering low kicks with straight punches, but Rockhold holds all the keys to victory. Look for Rockhold to work from the outside and hit a knee tap takedown when Philippou rushes, finding a mid-fight submission in short order.

Lorenz Larkin vs Brad Tavares: Two men grinding away at the middle of the division for a while now, Larkin and Tavares will work their polar opposite fight styles against each other and hope to crack into the top crust. Larkin is as smooth a striker as you’re going to find, being blazing fast and accurate, with the sense to avoid brawling with the wrong fighters. Tavares is the brawler though, having developed a suffocating clinch boxing game that puts the pressure on and never relents. This is a tough one to call as Larkin does have the foot work and volume to keep Tavares off of him, but Tavares can take a serious punch and knows he can’t win on the outside. A handful of takedowns seal this one, as Tavares closes ground, grinds on the fence and gets Larkin down enough to make an impression on the judges.

TJ Dillashaw vs Mike Easton: Bantamweight action never disappoints, and we’ve got two of the fastest strikers at 135lbs, as Dillashaw takes on the flagging Mike Easton. Dillashaw had looked offensively sound yet defensively weak in his last outings, having dropped a tough decision to Rafael Assuncao last time out. Across the cage, Easton has struggled in decision losses as well, having plenty of technique, but not having found real KO power, and being too content to stick with a game plan that isn’t working.

I like Easton’s overall technique standing better than Dillashaw, yet Dillashaw has the power advantage and clear wrestling advantage, making this fight his to lose. Easton needs a perfect striking bout to pull this off, and Dillashaw isn’t going to let him have it, working multiple platforms of attack and eventually getting the decision win.

Yoel Romero vs Derek Brunson: An impressive fighter making gains in the Middleweight division, Yoel Romero will take another step towards that top as he takes on fellow wrestler Derek Brunson. This is an interesting fight, as while Romero has the better wrestling credentials hands down, he has shown issue with working it in the cage; his muay thai stance negating much of his wrestling base. Brunson isn’t exactly a world beater, yet he has enough knowledge across all disciplines to make this fight work for him if he can avoid Romero’s power and keep a strong pace. Look for an upset, as Brunson hits takedowns when open and pressures the older fighter, getting a razor-close decision win.

John Moraga vs Dustin Ortiz: Two flyweights are looking to fight to the top of a quickly filling division, as John Moraga faces Dustin Ortiz. Moraga was soundly defeated in his title bid against Mighty Mouse, but the performance should be a great benchmark for where he needs to be if he wants to stay abreast of the flood of talent here, with Ortiz being a young and slick opponent to test himself against.

I liked what I saw out of Ortiz last time out, but the lack of physicality is concerning and I don’t see him being able to win too many pitched fights here; relying on speed in the fastest division on Earth. When it comes right down to it, Ortiz can’t win the wrestling and doesn’t have the firepower to take Moraga out, making Ortiz only chance a fast submission off a Moraga shot. Don’t count on seeing it though, as Moraga blasts Ortiz around the cage, getting the second round KO.

Cole Miller vs Sam Sicilia: Coming off a dismantling of Godofredo Pepey last time out, Sicilia will look to flatten another BJJ ace in Cole Miller. Miller has been treading water for a while now, but lackluster wins and frequent losses make it seem his run in the UFC will be at an end if he can’t get anything going against Sicilia. I’m not counting on that happening, as Miller lacks real pop to keep Sicilia at bay and his takedowns leave him open for counters, making this one a surefire Sicilia KO win in the first.

Ramsey Nijem vs Justin Edwards: A fun fight buried on the undercard, Ramsey Nijem will welcome Justin Edwards to the Lightweight division. When you boil this one down these two are essentially the same fighter, being geared as power wrestlers with unorthodox punching and submission skills. Being as Edwards is coming down from Welter and has a decent track record against wrestlers, I have to give him the advantage to stall Nijem out and do more offensively, taking a decision win.

UFC Fight Night 35 gets started early on Wednesday as it will serve as a lead in for the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter Nations, featuring Canada versus Australia.

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Category: MMA, UFC

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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