Tomorrow night, the UFC returns to Georgia to deliver an action-packed evening featuring a who’s who of “Who’s that?” with Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou. I’m kidding of course, because Fight Night 35 is at least attempting to make up for its lack of name power with a six-fight main card, and you know what they say about quantity over quality (it never fails!).
So as has become tradition with every great (or at least mediocre) fight card, it’s time to rank the Fight Night 35 main card fights according to our — and therefore, your — interest level. Let’s do this!
The only reason we ranked this fight last is due to the fact that a win won’t do much for either man other than secure their job for another fight. But don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty to watch for in this showdown between TUF alums. Cole Miller has dropped three out of his past five fights, but that didn’t stop him from calling out half the lightweight division (including “Colin Magoober”) after narrowly defeating Andy Ogle at Fight Night: Munoz vs. Machida last October. We expect him to go full heel against Sicilia, who recently saved his career and broke a two-fight skid by tearing through Godofredo Castro like a dingo through a baby at Fight Night 32. This one probably isn’t going the distance.
Speaking of dogs, it had completely slipped my mind that Bjorn Rebney once drove a railroad spike through a dog’s head and now it’s literally all I can think about. Ranking:
This fight may have been given co-main event status, but neither Tavares nor Larkin have done much lately to convince me that this fight will be all that exciting. Both guys are relatively solid strikers (although Larkin should hold an advantage on the feet) but Tavares’ current four-fight win streak has come via four straight decisions over relatively low-level competition. Larkin has gone 1-1 since making the transition over to the UFC, dropping a controversial and yawn-inducing decision to Francis Carmont – which are the only kind of Francis Carmont fights, really — before notching a UD over Chris Camozzi in November. I expect Tavares to clinch long and often in this one and attempt to grind out another mostly forgettable decision.
Seriously though, Bjorn drove a spike through a dog’s head. A dog that presumably had no hand (paw) in the feud between Rebney and Seth Ersoff. What the fuck is happening to this world? Ranking:
#4 – John Moraga vs. Dustin Ortiz
Despite the fact that he came up short in his recent title bid against Demetrious Johnson, there’s no denying that John Moraga is a bad man. Matter of fact, he’s probably one of the hardest hitting guys in the flyweight division, and if you don’t believe me, look no further than his finish of Ulysses Gomez. Moraga will be squaring off with a similarly fierce striker in Ortiz, who scored an impressive third round TKO over Jose Maria Tome in his UFC debut. And who knows? If Moraga defeats Ortiz in impressive enough fashion, he’ll probably earn himself another title shot in the ultra-thin flyweight division.
Do you think Bjorn ever wakes up at night in a cold sweat with the image of that dog’s mutilated skull frozen in his mind? And when his wife turns over to comfort him, he just pushes her away and tells her that she doesn’t understand what he has to do, what he’s had to do, to keep food on their plates? Chilling. Ranking:
Mike Easton has quickly gone from one of the bantamweight division’s brightest prospects to a guy who could be fighting for his job come tomorrow night. Granted, his previous split decision loss to Brad Pickett took Fight of the Night at UFC on FUEL 9, but Easton has also dropped two straight at 135. Before his loss to Pickett, Easton was similarly upended by Raphael Assuncao, who went on to defeat Dillashaw at Fight Night 29 last October. Prior to that, however, Dillashaw notched three finishes inside four victories, adding credence to the Bang Effect theory posited by Reed Kuhn. Even if this fight goes the distance, it will most likely be a back-and-forth banger contested mostly on the feet.
My beloved family dog, Zeus, passed away recently. Not due to a railroad spike being driven through it’s head, just because of old age. My kid brother has been having a tough time adjusting. I hope Seth Ersoff doesn’t have kids who had to experience such a mentally scarring travesty. Ranking:
The story of Derek Brunson’s UFC run has been a Tale of Two Cities. After putting on one of the absolutely worst performances of the year in his win over Chris Leben at UFC 155, Brunson rebounded in a big way against Brian Houston, dropping the previously undefeated middleweight with a head kick before finishing him with a rear-naked choke in just 48 seconds at Fight for the Troops 3. Standing across the cage from Brunson will be a dynamic KO artist in Romero, who has all but erased the memory of his embarrassing performance against Rafael Cavalcante with two straight knockouts in the UFC, including a brilliant flying knee KO of Clifford Starks at UFC on FOX 9. If this fight makes it out of the first round, well, it’s not making it out of the first round.
Perhaps the most prominent question running through my mind is: What would Bjorn have done if Ersoff didn’t back down after finding out that his dog had been killed? Drown the children that he may or may not have? Torch his mother’s bed while she was sleeping in it? Or would he just continue to place dead dogs on Ersoff’s doorstep until he finally withdrew the lawsuit? SOMEONE HELP ME UNDERSTAND THIS. Ranking:
You gotta feel for Luke Rockhold. The Santa Cruz born-prospect was riding high into his UFC debut on the heels of nine straight wins and two middleweight title defenses under the Strikeforce banner. Then he was matched up against Vitor Belfort for his UFC debut and this happened. By the time Rockhold came to, he had fallen prey to the greatest knockout of 2013. Philippou has also fallen on hard times as of late, seeing his five-fight UFC win streak snapped by Francis Carmont via, you guessed it, an incredibly boring unanimous decision at UFC 165. One would imagine that main event status and a chance to be thrust back into title contention will make for a hell of a fight between these two, hence it’s ranking on the only ranking system that matters.
It scares me to death to think that a sociopathic, dog-murdering lunatic is the CEO of the second biggest MMA organization in the world. I haven’t been able to sleep lately and have adopted four dogs in the past week, yet the void in my soul remains. I have Bjorn Rebney to thank for it. Bjorn Rebney: Dog Murderer. I don’t think I could ever forgive someone for such a thing, especially if that person would eventually be responsible for bringing Tito Ortiz back into the limelight. That’s two strikes, Bjorn, which is probably how many swings of the hammer it took you to drive that railroad spike into that poor canine’s skull. And in my book, there is no third strike. May these dog gifs haunt you for the rest of your days. Ranking:
How would you rank these fights, Nation? And do you think that Bjorn Rebney should be arrested and tried by the Animal Cops for his crimes against dogmanity?