Tuesday, January 14, 2014

UFC Middleweight Fight Night Contender Series 35: Rockhold vs Phillipou - Picks & Prognostications

Rockhold will come in looking to make a statement. Phillipou has considerably  more UFC experience, but Rockhold had the (mis)fortune of drawing Vitor Belfort his first bout in the UFC (TRT'd Belfort at that). Before that Rockhold beat Jacare (a less developed dynamo in MMA than now) and had won 9 in a row. Phillippou is coming off a less profile loss to Francis Carmont where Carmont wisely surprised Phillippou with a bunch of takedowns. It wasn't amazing or anything, but it was crafty and it got the "W".

Rockhold by 2nd round TKO in a rock 'em sock 'em robots affair of brain trauma.

Lorenz Larkin doesn't turn down fights I would suspect by taking a fight against the very tough, very durable Brad Tavares. Tavares didn't impress me much on the TUF show, but has really turned the corner professionally in his UFC bouts. His clinch-heavy style has continued to develop and he's strung together an impressive list of wins. Larkin also has a loss to Francis Carmont. I guess it's his height, but he's always looked small to me in this weight class (though he has a win over Robbie Lawler in olden days of yore under the Strikeforce banner).Tavares has wins of tough guys, but no big names yet. Larkin doesn't really fit that bill, but it's all experience in the tool box to workman-like progress up the middleweight ladder. What awaits him at the top are guys I simply do not believe he's ready for: the Belforts, Machidas, and Jacares of the roster, not to mention Weidman.

Tavares will push him around and finish him inside of the 3rd round I suspect.

Dillashaw is another guy who turned out to be much more of a prospect than the less than stellar competition of this TUF season showed him to be.

Mike Easton is still with Lloyd Irvin, and as a result of all the allegations, involvement in the previous gang rape in Irvin's past, and current scandal coming to light, I'm hoping Dillashaw beats Easton, hands him his 3rd loss, and Easton gets the firing from the UFC, in exactly that order.

Sleeper shoe in for FIGHT OF THE NIGHT is Derek Brunson vs Yoel Romero.

These guys are going to hit one another very hard. Yoel has the better wrestling pedigree, but he looks like the Hulk in this weight class and simply out-beasts many of his opponents with his considerable weight cut advantage and heavy, heavy hands. That being said, Derek Brunson is another bright prospect for the middleweight division. Like the other 185'ers fighting on this card, he has two losses.  Brunson has a quick loss to Jacare awhile back, but has won his first two UFC fights with wins of some guy named Brian and Chris Leben.
Yoel Romero won his last two fights via stoppage.

I'm gonna go with Yoel Romero to win this one via TKO in the 2nd round

As for the other fights further down the scale:
Moraga will beat Ortiz.
Cole Miller will win his fight by flashy pants dance shoes style submission!
Brenneman will beat the UFC-debut'ing Beneil Dariush due to experience.
Nijem will beat Justin Edwards.

The rest of the fights?
I don't honestly plan on watching them or keeping an eye out for the results.
"January 15, 2014 | Arena at Gwinnett Center | Duluth, Georgia
preliminary CARD
UFC Fight Pass, 4 p.m. ET

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