Next on our list, at #6, is Team Serra-Longo product Constantinos Philippou (6-1). Like Victor O'Donnell and Jordan Smith, he was also one of the defeated during the elimination round on The Ultimate Fighter 11. His opponent, Joe "Leonidas" Henle, wasn't favored to win, but he proved that anything can happen as he caught Philippou with an armbar in the second round. Since the setback, Philippou has went 1-0-0-1 in two appearances. While he isn't exactly setting the world ablaze with top notch performances as of late, he has the boxing skills and proven power to be a very exciting addition to any major organization's ranks.
Offensive Skills: Similarly to most fighters out of the Serra-Longo camp, Philippou's skill-set consists of a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ground game combined with a background in boxing. He has three professional boxing bouts along with more than 80 amateur bouts on his record, and it's evident in his performances that he prefers to beat his opponents into submission with his fists rather than grappling prowess.
What separates him from most of his own camp's members is the pedigree he possesses in the stand-up department. We've had front row seats to some of the beatings that Pete Sell, Luke Cummo, and even Matt Serra have taken in that past, and some fans would say that their inability to match the technique of their opponents on the feet was a key factor in their losses. That theory is probably true for Sell and Cummo while Serra has been a bit more successful standing.
The 31-year-old Greek-born fighter may be one of the few Serra-Longo prospects hoping to change that trend. He has a boxer's quickness and intelligence in his footwork and big power in both hands. His only negative is that he tends to throw one or two punch flurries without every really putting together damaging combinations. At this point in his career, he hasn't needed to do that as he's normally landed a counter right hand to the kisser or powerful left hook to the chin to end fights. As he takes on better competition, that will need to change.
Defensive Skills: Scouring my current list of prospects, Philippou is one of the better defensive fighters. His stand-up defense is what you'd expect from a fighter with a boxing background. Hands are always up, always in position to block incoming punches and kicks with ease, and his footwork is very good. In fact, I'd say that his footwork is his means to avoiding most of the counters and rushes that his opponents throw his way, and it also acts as a catalyst in helping him counter his opposition.
On the ground, he's been solid in regional performances, but his early exit on The Ultimate Fighter 11 against Joe Henle proved that he still needs some work. At this stage in his career, the only presumption we can make is that when Philippou is on the offensive, he's less inclined to be submitted. That's the case with almost every fighter on the planet.
Progression: Philippou has faced some tough competition in his relatively short seven-fight career. He fought UFC veteran Ricardo Romero in his first professional bout, only losing via split decision. He also fought fellow ranked prospect Victor O'Donnell in a fight outside of The Ultimate Fighter, winning via decision. Both those performances along with his finishing rate prove that Philippou belongs on our list, and it goes a long way in determining whether he has staying power within the divisional ranks.
If Philippou can continue to progress his ground game under the tutelage of the Serra-Longo team, he should become one of the few prospects with huge potential to succeed in the future.
Environment: As aforementioned, Philippou trains out of the Serra-Longo team in New York with a bevy of solid training partners in Chris Weidman, Matt Serra, Luke Cummo, Pete Sell, and Nick Serra. While the team isn't synonymous with huge success in the UFC, the prospects that they've been able to mold in the last few years have that potential.
Potential: Philippou has the support and skills to be a success. The only skill missing from his arsenal is a dangerous ground game, and that may be hidden underneath the hood. Right now, Philippou has found great success in his boxing background, and with a little bit of work and honing under the Serra-Longo fighting team -- he should be one of the more exciting prospects we see in 2011.
|#1 - Thiago Michel
#2 - Ricardo Tirloni
#3 - Magno Almeida
#4 - Ui Cheol Nam
#5 - Henrique Mello
#6 - Reza Madadi
#7 - Alexander Sarnavskiy
#8 - Ole Laursen
#9 - Guillaume DeLorenzi
#10 - Al Iaquinta
|#1 - Yuri Villefort
#2 - Alex Garcia
#3 - Erick Silva
#4 - Douglas Lima
#5 - Luis "Sapo" Santos
#6 - Jesse Juarez
#7 - Gunnar Nelson
#8 - Quinn Mulhern
#9 - Alberto Mina
#10 - Joe Ray
|#6 - Costantinos Philippou
#7 - Jordan Smith
#8 - Uriah Hall
#9 - Victor O'Donnell
#10 - Assan Njie
Costa Phillippou vs Brendan Barrett
Costa Phillippou vs Tony Andreocci
Aaron Meisner vs. Costa Philippou
Ricardo Romero vs. Phillipou Part 1
Ricardo Romero vs. Phillipou Part 2