Before the main card kicked off on FOX Sports 1, UFC Fight Night 35: "Rockhold vs. Philippou" had several interesting and entertaining fights that took place on the "Prelims" under card from The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia.
Fans tuning in early on "Fight Pass" online digital network were treated to two lightweight bouts, while the FOX Sports 1-televised portion contained four under card bouts across three weight classes.
The "Prelims" main event featured two The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) contestants, with Ramsey Nijem getting the better of Justin Edwards.
Nijem opened up with a combination, and Edwards returned the favor. Nijem tried to clock Edwards with a head kick, however Edwards nailed him with a left hand. Both fighters were staying on the outside, with Edwards circling well. Edwards was landing more shots, simply because he was throwing more and countered well. Nijem attempted a flying knee, although Edwards powered out of it and kept throwing strikes. Nijem tried a spinning kick, and Edwards landed some big shots with Nijem out of the loop momentarily. Nijem caught Edwards in a heel hook after another failed back kick, and took advantage of Edwards' eagerness to swarm him -- however, the buzzer sounded before anything damaging.
Nijem opened up with a combination, and Edwards returned the favor. Nijem tried to clock Edwards with a head kick, however Edwards nailed him with a left hand. Both fighters were staying on the outside, with Edwards circling well. Edwards was landing more shots, simply because he was throwing more and countered well. Nijem attempted a flying knee, although Edwards powered out of it and kept throwing strikes. Nijem tried a spinning kick, and Edwards landed some big shots with Nijem out of the loop momentarily.
After both fighters traded punches, Edwards caught Nijem in an arm-in guillotine thirty seconds into the second round. With Edwards holding on tight, Nijem powered out after a while in the submission, and started to work from top position. With Edwards back on his feet, Nijem started to get into the groove, and rocked Edwards with a big knee and followed up with punches. Nijem swarmed Edwards, making his way to the ground and locked in a rear-naked choke. Edwards was able to survive multiple attempts.
Nijem rocked Edwards with a big left hook at the beginning of the third round, bloodying Edwards and looking for the takedown. Nijem circled away from Edwards' power, slowing down the pace a little bit. Edwards caught Nijem with a spinning kick, however the TUF 13 finalist was unfazed and took Edwards down right after. Nijem closed out the round strong with another takedown and punches -- avoiding a calf slicer.
Nijem secures his fourth UFC win.
Elias Silverio put on a grappling clinic against Isaac Vallie-Flagg, finding himself victorious after controlling the whole fight minus a bogus point deduction.
Vallie-Flagg came out ferociously, backing up Silverio with strikes. Silverio used a front kick to keep his opponent at bay, yet Vallie-Flagg kept on coming. Silverio found himself on top of Vallie-Flagg, however the American moved back to his feet. Silverio dropped Vallie-Flagg, and smothered him again by tying him up on the mat. Vallie-Flagg worked his way back up, but not without taking a few punches and knees from his opponent.
Silverio looked like the stronger grappler, and took down his foe in the first minute of the second round after tying him up in the clinch. Silverio had a point deducted for a knee to a downed opponent, however replays showed that Silverio caught Vallie-Flagg's chest. Not much changed in Silverio's game plan, as he took down Vallie-Flagg once again and kept busy in half guard.
In the third round, Silverio threw a variety of strikes, including combinations with his hands and multiple kicks to the body. Another takedown from Silverio saw the Brazilian take his opponent's back, looking for the rear-naked choke. He did not completely have the choke sunken in, however he did control position for the entire round.
"Xuxu" remains undefeated at 10-0.
Trevor Smith won his middleweight bout against Brian Houston, and although we have seen more controversial decisions in the past, this one could have gone both ways.
Both middleweights looked relaxed to commence the action, looking to pick their shots accurately before Smith took Houston down. Shortly after, Houston was able to get back up and returned the favor, but Smith was up in no time. The action was a little slow, with both fighters trying to establish their jab. Smith landed a big takedown, and locked in a head and arm choke, however Houston survived. Smith finished the round strong with punches from the top.
Houston kept out of range from Smith's takedowns, and opened Smith up with a left hook. With blood pouring out of his forehead, Smith tried to take Houston down, although the latter stuffed it and kept busy punching in the clinch. Smith landed a few nice punches, however Houston was successful in stuffing Smith's takedowns.
Looking exhausted, Smith was getting beaten to the punch by Houston, who was circling around well and moving out of range. Houston mixed it up with leg kicks as well, setting up his punches by attacking Smith's lead leg. Smith was landed his punches one after another, and stuffed another takedown attempt from Smith -- forcing him to eat a knee on the way up.
Smith snaps a two-fight losing streak and tastes victory under the UFC banner for the first time.
"The Turkish Delight" found himself in a second fight in just one month, and it may have been too much, too soon, after being defeated by Louis Smolka by unanimous decision.
Smolka started out as the aggressor, trying to catch Ozkilic every time he came in. Ozkilic landed a takedown after setting it up with a right hand, and landed in Smolka's guard. Ozkilic passed guard into side control, and he began to throw wild strikes on the ground. Smolka was able to get back to his feet, landing some brutal knees to the body. Smolka almost dropped Ozkilic with a big left hand, and then Ozkilic returned the favor by almost dropping Smolka and chased him around the cage until they both regained their composure at the center. Smolka attempted a flying knee, and continued by throwing kicks to the body with Ozkilic throwing haymakers.
Ozkilic caught Smolka early with a right hand in the second round, and Smolka continued to press forward himself with strikes. The lanky Smolka was able to control Ozkilic in a clinch, and hit him with several knees to the body. They traded punches in what was becoming a scrappy fight, and Smolka rocked Ozkilic with a huge standing elbow. Smolka started to pour it on with accurate right hands, however Ozkilic had the grappling advantage and took down Smolka twice in the final minute.
In the third round, Ozkilic was losing the boxing match with Smolka, and the latter was picking accuracy over power -- and being successful in doing so. Smolka kept Ozkilic on the outside, and there was plenty of volume in the striking. Smolka rocked Ozkilic, which forced "The Turkish Delight" to take him down. After a second takedown, Ozkilic took Smolka's back and tried his luck at a rear-naked choke, but Smolka was able to power out and slap on a d'arce choke. Smolka chose to position himself better instead of securing the tap, and worked in full mount by pouring it on with punches from full mount.
It was an impressive debut for the 22-year old Hawaiian, who remains undefeated at 7-0.
After a long period of time on the shelf due to injuries, "From Hell" lived up to his moniker after beating Garrett Whiteley with takedown after takedown.
Both combatants mixed it up right off the bat with punches and kicks, and Pichel landed a solid left hand that caught Whiteley off guard. Pichel kept on landing low leg kicks, and eventually took Whiteley down to the mat. Whiteley was actually doing more damage off of his back with elbows. Whiteley was able to transition into a choke attempt, however both made their way back up to their feet and Pichel landed one more takedown for good measure before the horn.
Pichel attacked the body with punches in the second round, and he nailed Whiteley with a left hook that made his opponent's mouthpiece fly out of his mouth. Pichel landed another takedown, although he could not work with Whiteley controlling his neck. After drilling Whiteley with a few punches on the ground, Pichel simply controlled his opponent's body for the majority of the second round.
In the third round, Pichel worked his way to another takedown by coming at Whitely hard with punches, and continued striking when the fight hit the mat. Whiteley had a decent guard, and that prohibited Pichel from doing what he wanted although the pressure was constant. Pichel caught Whiteley in a triangle choke, however the latter powered out of it. In a last minute submission attempt, Whiteley tried to secure the kimura, although Pichel reversed it into a armbar moments before the final horn.
Pichel secures his first win inside the Octagon and moves to 8-1.
Getting a call back from the promotion in what marks his second stint for the organization, Charlie Brenneman may have improved now that he is at lightweight -- however, Beneil Dariush was too much to handle and finished the fight quickly in the first round by submission.
Dariush came out with heavy strikes right away in a southpaw stance, not wasting anytime and clocked Brenneman with a nice left hand. He was looking for head kicks early, however Brenneman kept astray. Brenneman was working his combinations well, until Dariush cracked him with a left hand and dropped him.
The Octagon debutant then took Brenneman's back and sunk in a rear-naked choke. Brenneman tried to stay in there, but he had no choice
Dariush moves to 7-0 in the sport.
Here are the entire UFC Fight Night 35 quick results:
155 lbs.: Justin Edwards vs. Ramsey Nijem -- Nijem wins by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x2)
155 lbs.: Elias Silverio vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg -- Silverio wins by unanimous decision (29-27 x3)
185 lbs.: Brian Houston vs. Trevor Smith -- Smith wins via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
125 lbs.: Alptekin Ozkilic vs. Louis Smolka -- Smolka wins via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
155 lbs.: Vinc Pichel vs. Garett Whiteley -- Pichel wins via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
155 lbs.: Beneil Dariush vs. Charlie Brenneman -- Dariush wins via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:45R1
That's just the start!
REMEMBER: MMAmania.com will provide LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 35 fight card TONIGHT (Weds., Jan. 15, 2014) right here, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" at 4 p.m. ET, right on through the FOX Sports 1-televised main card bouts at 7 p.m. ET.
See you there ...