Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Gegard Mousasi and Costas Philippou came to blows yesterday morning (Sat., May 16, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 66 on FOX Sports 1 inside the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Mousasi proved to be a top fighter before this bout, but he was still looking for some consistency. By taking out Philippou, Mousasi could have started another win streak and perhaps begun to live up to his championship potential.
Philippou has been rather hot-and-cold, as well. Still, the powerful boxer had a major opportunity on his hands, as a victory over "The Armenian Assassin" could have propelled him into the top 10.
Instead, Mousasi took a dominant victory (video highlights here).
After a brief feeling out process for both men, Mousasi ducked under a punch and landed an easy takedown into side control. While Philippou did a decent job of recovering guard and maintaining it, Mousasi did an even better job of picking his moments with ground strikes.
Overall, Mousasi was unable to advance to a dominant position, but he landed plenty of hard strikes and threatened with submissions across much of the round. Meanwhile, Philippou was not able to do anything except hold on and defend.
Mousasi wasted little time to start the second and landed an early takedown, but Philippou stopped him from establishing top position and wall-walked back to his feet. In the stand up, Mousasi did a nice job landing his straight punches and low kicks, while showing his excellent defense and avoiding the vast majority of his opponent's strikes.
After a couple of minutes, Mousasi landed his third takedown of the fight. From side control, he threatened with a kimura, but Philippou defended and got back into half guard. Instead of trying to scramble back to his feet, he just held on, eating ground strikes until the round ended.
Heading into the third, Philippou needed to do something drastic.
For a minute and a half, Mousasi tuned up his opponent with punches before driving through another easy double leg. From top position, it was a replay of the last two rounds, as Philippou mostly just held on while Mousasi picked his shots. Until the end of the fight, Mousasi continued to chip away at his opponent with active ground and pound.
Mousasi was simply a class ahead of his opponent. He was dominant in each area of mixed martial arts (MMA) and easily handled his opponent however he wanted. Against the former professional boxer, Mousasi's sharp jab and defense were especially impressive.
Philippou simply couldn't hit him.
He also couldn't stop a takedown, as Mousasi completed each one fairly easily. The first few were well set up, but by the third round, Mousasi knew he could finish the shot at will and just blasted through his opponent.
After this dominant win, Mousasi should face off with a fellow top-10 opponent. A match up against Michael Bisping would make sense, depending on how quickly the UFC wants to move him back into the elite of the division.
In this bout, Philippou's strategy really didn't make sense at all. On his feet, he was trying to play an outside kickboxer -- against the successful professional kickboxing veteran -- or rushing forward and giving up easy takedowns. There was no measured pursuit, filled with slips, counters, and cage cutting.
It was a little bizarre and led to him being incredibly ineffective.
In addition, Philippou barely tried to scramble from his back. He basically just held on. While that prevented Mousasi from submitting him, it also eliminated any chance of him getting to his feet and potentially winning.
In short, a terrible game plan combined with a lack of urgency does not (and did not) equal a win over elite opposition.
At UFC Fight Night 66, Gegard Mousasi dominated his opponent for three rounds. How high can the talented Armenian climb in the middleweight division?
For complete UFC Fight Night 66 "Edgar vs. Faber" results and play-by-play, click HERE!