Some eight months after receiving the rudest of Ultimate Fighting Championship welcomes, former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder Luke Rockhold finds himself as the marquee attraction inside the Octagon.
Rockhold tipped the scales at 185 pounds for his five-round showdown with Costas Philippou (185) in the UFC Fight Night 35 main event on Wednesday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Middleweight co-headliners Lorenz Larkin (185) and Brad Tavares (185) also met their contracted weight requirements without issue at Tuesday’s official weigh-in.
Spawned by the American Kickboxing Academy, Rockhold last appeared at UFC on FX 8 in May, when he was victimized by a spectacular spinning heel kick and follow-up punches from Vitor Belfort at the Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. The defeat halted a nine-fight winning streak for the 29-year-old Californian and spoiled his UFC debut. Though injuries have been a concern throughout his career, most view Rockhold as a future title contender at 185 pounds. Wins over Jesse Taylor, Tim Kennedy, Keith Jardine and Ronaldo Souza anchor his resume.
Philippou has compiled a 5-2 record since arriving in the UFC in March 2011, scoring victories over Jorge Rivera, Jared Hamman, Court McGee, Riki Fukuda and Tim Boetsch. The 34-year-old Cypriot last fought at UFC 165 in September, when he dropped a unanimous decision to Tristar Gym representative Francis Carmont at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. A former Ring of Combat champion, Philippou has never been knocked out or submitted.
UFC Fight Night 35 “Rockhold vs. Philippou” -- which airs on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT -- will also feature a bantamweight battle pairing Team Alpha Male’s T.J. Dillashaw (135) with Mike Easton (135), a middleweight clash pitting 2000 Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero Palacio (185) against Derek Brunson (185), a flyweight tilt matching Roufusport prospect Dustin Ortiz (124) with John Moraga (126) and a featherweight scrap pairing American Top Team’s Cole Miller (145) with Sam Sicilia (145).
Two hours prior, FOX Sports 1 will also carry four preliminary bouts: Ramsey Nijem (155) vs. Justin Edwards (155), Isaac Vallie-Flagg (155) vs. Elias Silverio (155), Trevor Smith (186) vs. Brian Houston (185) and Alptekin Ozkilic (125) vs. Louis Smolka (125). UFC Fight Pass will stream the two remaining undercard matchups at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT, as AMA Fight Club’s Charlie Brenneman (155) collides with Beneil Dariush (156) and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 semifinalist Vinc Pichel (155) locks horns with Garett Whiteley (156).
UFC Fight Night 35 ‘Rockhold vs. Philippou’ Weigh-In Results:Luke Rockhold (185) vs. Costas Philippou (185)
Lorenz Larkin (185) vs. Brad Tavares (185)
T.J. Dillashaw (135) vs. Mike Easton (135)
Yoel Romero Palacio (185) vs. Derek Brunson (185)
Dustin Ortiz (124) vs. John Moraga (126)
Cole Miller (145) vs. Sam Sicilia (145)
Ramsey Nijem (155) vs. Justin Edwards (155)
Isaac Vallie-Flagg (155) vs. Elias Silverio (155)
Trevor Smith (186) vs. Brian Houston (185)
Alptekin Ozkilic (125) vs. Louis Smolka (125)
Vinc Pichel (155) vs. Garett Whiteley (156)
Charlie Brenneman (155) vs. Beneil Dariush (156)