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UFC Fight Night primer: Luke Rockhold vs. Costas Philippou

Bloody Elbow presents a preview of UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou in our fight card primer series. Here we look at the main event: Luke Rockhold vs. Costas Philippou live on Fox Sports 1.

Costas Philippou weighs in at UFC 165
Costas Philippou weighs in at UFC 165
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In the main event at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou, former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold (10-2 MMA; 0-1 UFC) faces Costas Philippou (12-3(1) MMA; 5-2 UFC). This 5 round Middleweight fight caps off the six fight main card. The UFC Rankings have Rockhold as the #6 contender at Middleweight, with Philippou at #10. UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou airs live from Atlanta this Wednesday January 15 on Fox Sports 1 with a fight time of 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT for the main card.

Ever since the fall of Anderson Silva, there's been an interesting freshness to the Middleweight division, and this fight exemplifies that. After Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort, the next title challenger is very much up in the air. Both of these men are not quite ready to make that challenge yet, but for one of them, this could very well start a run towards title contention. With both men coming off losses, that means one will suddenly be in the title hunt, one will be on a 2 fight skid. Big stakes should make for a big fight.

How do these two stack up?

Rockhold: 29 years old | 6'3" | 77" reach
Philippou: 34 years old | 5'11" | 73" reach

What have these two done recently?

Rockhold: L - Vitor Belfort (KO) | W - Tim Kennedy (UD) | W - Keith Jardine (TKO)
Philippou: L - Francis Carmont (UD) | W - Tim Boetsch (TKO) | W - Riki Fukuda (UD)

How did these two get here?

Luke Rockhold is the last ever Strikeforce Middleweight champion, winning that title from Jacare in 2011. He had a tremendous 9-0 run in Strikeforce, but ran into the Belfort buzzsaw in his UFC debut last year. Rockhold is a very well rounded fighter, with good grappling credentials, and nice kickboxing technique. He's something of a Jack-Of-All-Trades fighter, learning a range of technique at the impressive AKA camp, and that skill in many areas has paid off for him so far.

More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou

In contrast, Constantinous "Costas" Philippou is very much a specialist. Skilled with his hands, Philippou brings a true boxing approach to MMA, incorporating aspects of the Sweet Science not always seen in MMA. For quite some time, Philippou trained at Serra-Longo, and the combination of Ray Longo's boxing and Matt Serra's takedown defense made him a formidable fighter. Last year, he changed camps, heading to Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. He's 0-1 since that change, and needs a win here to get back to form.

Why should you care?

The striking fan in me thinks this could be a nice stand-up exchange, plus it is a very interesting fight from a rankings perspective. This is the perfect kind of main event for a Wednesday night Fight Night.

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