UFC Middleweight Bout: Luke Rockhold vs. Constantinos Philippou
Odds: (-400 Rockhold /+300 Philippou )
Betting Pick: Rockhold
Bet on this fight at Bovada
In the main event of UFC Fight Night 35, long-time Strikeforce standout Luke Rockhold will look to recover from a disastrous UFC debut as he squares off against Costas Philippou. Rockhold came into UFC looking like a world-beater, but was demolished by Vitor Belfort in his first appearance. Now, he faces another stiff test in the heavy-handed Philippou.
Since debuting in March of 2011, Costas Philippou has put together an impressive 5-2 record in the UFC. He has a solid overall game, but his best attribute is definitely his punching power. Philippou will probably never be a champion or a serious title contender, but he is a dangerous fighter with a versatile skill set who is capable of testing any fighter in the world. Against Rockhold, he will definitely be the more dangerous striker. If he can successfully employ a sprawl and brawl gameplan and keep Rockhold from securing takedowns, he will be in good position to pull off the upset here.
Luke Rockhold, despite his vicious knockout loss to Belfort, is one of the UFC’s best Middleweights. Rockhold is a prolific grappler who uses solid technical boxing to back up his dominant wrestling and submission game. He has great positional control and can finish fights on the ground from a variety of positions. He isn’t the world’s most prolific striker, but he isn’t helpless on his feet either. He would be well advised to avoid standing with Philippou, who has more than enough punching power to make him pay for any mistakes.
Ultimately, I think Rockhold is just too much for Philippou. Philippou certainly has a puncher’s chance, but I think Rockhold’s wrestling will ultimately be the deciding factor. I don’t see a way for Costas to keep this fight standing, and on his back underneath Rockhold is not where he wants to be. Philippou is a tough guy, and should be able to hang around, but I think Rockhold will control the action en route to a unanimous decision.
Prediction: Luke Rockhold by Unanimous Decision.