As the first event of 2014 not shown exclusively on the new Fight Pass streaming platform, UFC Fight Night 35 featuring a middleweight battle between Luke Rockhold and Constantinos Philippou is shaping up to be a worthy belated New Year’s party.
The main event should satisfy even the most jaded MMA fans, and the sheer depth of the card should help keep anyone witnessing the show interested in the action.
While this event lacks the mainstream names needed to cement it as one of the more memorable shows of the year, this is a strong group of pure fighters that will set the tone for what promises to be an entertaining 2014.
Here is all the vital viewing information for UFC Fight Night 35, a full list of predictions for the entire card and a preview of the main event.
Where: The Arena at Gwinnett Center, Duluth, Ga.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox Sports 1
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go
|UFC Fight Night 35 Match Card, Odds and Predictions|
|Weight||Fighter 1||Odds||Fighter 2||Odds||Predicted Winner|
|Middleweight||Luke Rockhold||-400||Costas Philippou||+300||Rockhold via Submission|
|Middleweight||Lorenz Larkin||-225||Brad Tavares||+175||Tavares via Decision|
|Bantamweight||T.J. Dillashaw||-285||Mike Easton||+225||Dillashaw via Decision|
|Middleweight||Yoel Romero||-300||Derek Brunson||+230||Romero via TKO|
|Flyweight||John Moraga||-310||Dustin Ortiz||+240||Moraga via TKO|
|Featherweight||Cole Miller||-185||Sam Sicilia||+150||Miller via Decision|
|Source: UFC and Bovada|
Main Event Preview and Prediction
In the main event of the evening, middleweight contenders Luke Rockhold (10–2) and Constantinos Philippou (12–3, 1 NC) will square off with future championship consideration on the line.
Each man is coming off a tough loss—Rockhold was a victim of a KO from Vitor Belfort and Philippou lost a unanimous decision to Francis Carmont—and will be looking to begin the slow climb back into the title scene.
The lack of elite challengers in the middleweight division has made the bout on Jan. 15 important to the long-term title picture. The winner of this fight would likely have to be victorious once more to earn a shot at the championship, but Dana White will view this main event as the possible resurgence of one of these fighters as a legitimate contender.
Philippou is a powerful puncher, but this bout will be focused on whether or not Rockhold can regain the elite form he held while fighting under the Strikeforce banner. The former middleweight champion was one of the best strikers in the now-defunct federation, but with Philippou’s boxing ability, Rockhold would be wise to take this bout to the ground early and often.
After watching Carmont shut down Philippou with elite grappling and physical takedowns, it is clear that the way to neutralize the Cyprus Slugger’s power standing up is to take him to the ground and eliminate his striking.
Rockhold has the ability to land heavy punches and elbows from the top position and make his opponent pay, but Philippou’s desperation on the ground to get the fight back standing up will leave openings for a possible submission.
With Rockhold’s submission prowess, this fight will end early for Philippou.
Predicted Winner: Rockhold via Third-Round Submission