Opening up the UFC 128 card is a fight at a 195 pound catchweight between Nick Catone (8-2, 2-2 UFC) and Constantinos Philippou (7-1, 0-0 UFC). Catone was originally slated to face Dan Miller but Miller moved into a fight with Nate Marquardt after Yoshihiro Akiyama withdrew due to the tragic situation in Japan. Philippou took the late notice fight and will be making his UFC debut.
What have these guys done lately?
Catone - W Jesse Forbes (DEC), L Mark Munoz (DEC), L Tim Credeur (SUB)
Philippou - W Uriah Hall (DEC), W Aung La Nsang (TKO), W Victor O'Donnell (DEC)
How did these guys get here?
Catone is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt who got his shot in the UFC after going 6-0 on the New Jersey regional scene. He had a successful debut, defeating Derek Downey by submission. Tim Credeur would get the better of Nick in his next bout, submitting him by guillotine choke in the second round. A second consecutive loss followed in what was an exciting and competitive decision against Mark Munoz. Catone rebounded with a win over Jesse Forbes and is looking to build on that win at UFC 128.
Constantinos Philippou was the #6 ranked middleweight in Leland Roling’s World MMA Scouting Report. I’ll allow his scouting report to explain about Philippou’s current status:
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.
Why should you care?
Catone puts on entertaining fights and Philippou is a prospect worth watching. The late notice factor may hurt fight overall, but it still is a fight worth checking out.