UFC Fight Night 35 took place on Wednesday night at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia and former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold earned his first UFC victory with a TKO victory in the first round against Costas Philippou.
The fight would last less than three minutes and would be on the feet for the entire fight. Rockhold was pushing the pace for a majority of the fight and landed 75 percent of his total strikes. He would hurt Philippou with a body kick and landed another body kick that would cause referee Herb Dean to step in and stop the fight.
Rockhold (11-2) now has nine wins coming by knockout or submission and all of those wins have come in the first round. In his post fight interview, Rockhold stated he wants to get a rematch with Vitor Belfort in the United States and also mentioned a potential matchup with Michael Bisping.
Tavares wins fifth straight with decision over Larkin
Ultimate Fighter alum Brad Tavares won his fifth straight fight as he scored a decision victory over Lorenz Larkin.
Most of the opening round was on the feet with Tavares being the more active fighter. He scored a takedown at the end of the round and out landed Larkin 18-9 in the opening round. Tavares continued to win the striking battle in the second round and took the fight to the ground. Once on the ground, he got on the back of Larkin and went for a rear-naked choke. Larkin would survive the submission attempt and make it to the end of the round.
Larkin knew that he would need a finish in the first round and landed 41 strikes in the round, with the most significant punches coming by way of elbows. Tavares would survive the strikes and the fight went to the judges scorecards.
Tavares (12-1) won the fight on all of the judges scorecards and he has the third longest UFC win streak in the middleweight division.
Dillashaw dominates Easton to win by unanimous decision
TJ Dillashaw earned his fifth win in the UFC as he dominated Mike Easton to win by unanimous decision.
After an exchange of strikes to open the fight, Dillashaw took the fight to the ground. Easton was able to get up and they continued to exchange strikes until the end of the round. Dillashaw would get the fight to the ground in the second round but Easton was able to get back to his feet. After a striking exchange, Dillashaw got the fight back to the ground and continue to control the bout.
As the second round ended, Easton’s corner told him that he would need a knockout in the final round to win the fight. However, Dillashaw continued to come forward and controlled the fight with his strikes. All three judges would score the fight for Dillashaw (9-2) and he has won five of his seven fights in the UFC.
Romero down two rounds, comes back to win by TKO in third round
Yoel Romero scored his second straight win by knockout in the third round as he scored a come from behind victory against Derek Brunson.
In the first and second round, Brunson was in control and was able to stay away from Romero’s heavy left hand. He scored multiple takedowns in the first ten minutes of the fight and was up two rounds heading into the final round.
As the third round opened, it appeared that Brunson was starting to slow down and Romero began to push the pace. Romero began to land his strikes and would end up dropping Brunson. He would land several unanswered strikes on the mat and the referee came in to stop the fight.
Romero (7-1) has won three in a row since suffering his first defeat and all of his wins have come by knockout.
Moraga wins controversial split decision over Ortiz
John Moraga was able to score a split decision victory over Dustin Ortiz, even though the media scored the fight for Ortiz.
The fight opened with Ortiz landing a right hand that stunned Moraga and he would end up scoring a takedown. He would keep the fight on the ground for the remainder of the round and control the round. Moraga’s best round would come in the second as he was able to land his strikes. After being unable to land one significant strike in the opening round, he landed sixteen in the second round.
The fight was tied heading into the fight round and Ortiz was able to land a takedown. Moraga would be able to work his way to his feet and would end up jumping for a guillotine choke in the final seconds of the fight. The fight went to the judges and TheMMAReport.com scored the fight 29-28 for Ortiz. However, two of the three judges scoring the fight for the Georgia commission had the fight for Moraga.
Miller wins back to back fights for first time since 2010
Cole Miller was fighting in his home state of Georgia and submitted Ultimate Fighter alum Sam Sicilia in the second round to score his 15th career win by submission.
The entire opening round would be on the feet and Miller was able to use his reach advantage to out strike the heavy handed Sicilia. Miller continued to control the fight on the feet at the beginning of the second round and ended up dropping Sicilia with a left hand.
Once on the mat, Miller began to work for a submission. Sicilia was able to survive the first submission attempt, but Miller was able to get on his opponents back and immediately locked in a rear-naked choke. Sicilia would immediately tap out and Miller has won back to back fights for the first time since 2010.
During his post fight interview, Miller (21-8) said he told UFC President Dana White that he was a top ten featherweight and called out lightweight Donald Cerrone. He stated that he would send Mike Dolce his way and would pay the bill.
Main Card: (Fox Sports 1)
Luke Rockhold def. Costas Philippou via TKO (body kick) – Round 1, 2:31
Brad Tavares def. Lorenz Larkin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
TJ Dillashaw def. Mike Easton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Yoel Romero def. Derek Brunson via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:23
John Moraga def. Dustin Ortiz via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Cole Miller def. Sam Sicilia via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:54
Preliminary Card: (Fox Sports 1)
Ramsey Nijem def. Justin Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Elias Silverio def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-29-27, 29-27)
Trevor Smith def. Brian Houston via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Louis Smolka def. Alptekin Ozkilic via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Preliminary Card: (Fight Pass)
Vinc Pichel def. Garrett Whiteley via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Beneil Dariush def. Charlie Brenneman via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:45