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UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou — Main Card Results & Commentary

(Luke and Costa face off in front of the wax replica of Dana White that the UFC has been sending to non-essential events. No offense, guys. At least you’re not on Fight Pass. / Photo via Getty)

Look, what can we tell you about UFC Fight Night 35 that we haven’t already expressed via dog GIFs? Luke Rockhold and Costa Philippou are a pair of highly-regarded middleweights who are trying to avoid a two-fight losing streak. Supporting their main event is a worthwhile list of TUF vets (Brad Tavares, TJ Dillashaw, Cole Miller, Sam Sicilia), a former flyweight title challenger (John Moraga), and a fast-rising knockout artist named Yoel Romero. It’s on cable TV, and early enough to watch while you’re eating your salisbury steak. Take it or leave it.

Handling our liveblog of the “Rockhold vs. Philippou” FOX Sports 1 main card is Matt Kaplan, who will be sticking round-by-round results after the jump beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and if you’re watching along with us, join the conversation in the comments section.

Preliminary card results:
- Ramsey Nijem def. Justin Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)
- Elias Silverio def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg via unanimous decision (29-27 x 3)*
- Trevor Smith def. Brian Houston via split-decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
- Louis Smolka def. Alptekin Ozkilic via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Vinc Pichel def. Garett Whiteley via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
- Beneil Dariush def. Charlie Brenneman via submission (rear-naked choke), 1:45 of round 1

* Silverio had a point deducted for an illegal knee.

Just a few minutes of intro stuff we already know, and here comes the first bout of the noche. Fight Night 35 is shaping up to be a Tic Tac-and-a-rubber type of gal: nothing fancy, just right to bidness.

Cole Miller vs. Sam Sicilia

Rd. 1 – Sicilia takes the center of the cage and puts his jab to work a little. The much taller Miller is getting it going after a slow opening minute, but neither man is getting too nasty with it just yet. Sicilia wades in, looking for a hook, but Miller is patient and sidesteps the inside hooks. Miller is testing out the head kick, it seems. Sicilia nails Miller with a tough right hand to the mid-section. Again Miller brings the kick upstairs. Sicilia is throwing his hooks hard now, but Miller is still patient and fighting behind his jab.  He’s committed to that head kick, but isn’t throwing it too hard, and Sicilia keeps coming in with wide, hard shots. Decent opening round.

Rd. 2 – Miller opens with a high kick, and Sicilia answers with hooks. Miller employs the front kick. A left hook-right cross combo seems to hurt Sicilia, and you can see the damage under his left eye. Nice body shot from Sicilia. BIG right staggers and drops Sicilia. Miller pounces and slaps on a guillotine from half guard. Oh boy. Now he’s got his back…Sicilia is flattened out on his stomach…rear naked…tappy tap.

Cole Miller wins via Rd. 2 rear naked choke (and then calls out Cowboy Cerrone).

John Moraga vs. Dustin Ortiz

Rd. 1 – Big overhand right from the very energetic Ortiz just 20 seconds in, but Moraga takes it. He shoots on Ortiz…nah. Ortiz shoots now, scrambles behind Moraga, and presses him against the cage. Moraga is throwing short punches and knees from off the fence as Ortiz presses and works for position. Knees from Ortiz now, and there’s the takedown. Ortiz is in Moraga’s guard and dropping punches. Moraga can’t get up, it seems. Moraga is against the cage with Ortiz all over him. Ortiz is in half guard now and stays active from top position. MOraga going for the triangle? Looks like it. Yup. Ortiz is really throwing hard now. Bye bye, triangle attempt. Dominant round for Ortiz.

Rd. 2 – Moraga is kicking early as Ortiz bounces around the center of the cage. Nice leg kick from Moraga. Good short right hand from Moraga. Big ol’ left hook from Moraga staggers Ortiz. That was some power right there. Ortiz recovers, but Moraga has him against the cage now. They’re off the fence. Ortiz slips as Moraga feints, and Moraga is all over him. Ortiz has a hold of his leg, but he’s throwing some hard elbows. Moraga takes Ortiz’s back now. Here we go. Uh-oh, Ortiz escapes and is in side control. They scramble and are back on the feet. A hard right-left combo from Moraga connects. Ortiz shoots and has Moraga’s back with seconds left. Much better round for Moraga.

Rd. 3 – Moraga misses a big overhand right that could have been all she wrote. Moraga stuffs an Ortiz shoot and is the much more poised stand-up fighter so far. Nice right from Ortiz over the top, right on cue. Both men are throwing combos with limited success, and there’s a takedown from Ortiz. Ortiz is moving into half guard and dropping forearms. Moraga wants the kimura but can’t get it. Moraga pops up, tries for Ortiz’s back, but Ortiz reverses and has Moraga on the fence. Knees from Ortiz. Ortiz nails one last takedown. Moraga wants the guillotine, as Ortiz pounds the body. Close fight.

John Moraga wins via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

Hey, there’s Ric Flair cageside, looking like death warmed over. Whooo!

Yoel Romero vs. Derek Brunson

Rd. 1- Big early left hand from Brunson. Bigger left and flying knee from Romero. Brunson gets a takedown, but Romero is back up like it aint no thang. Brunson fires a 1-2. Nice left hand to the body from Romero, but GOD DAMN  did Brunson just land a monster kick to the ear of the burly Cuban gent. Wow. I’d be dead. Brunson stuffs a takedown and kicks at the lead leg. The head kick misses for Brunson. Romero with the trip takedown, but Brunson gets up and slams down Romero after a busy scramble. The round ends with both guys locked up in the center of the cage.

Rd. 2 – Brunson misses the 1-2, but hits with the right hook. Romero punches the body, but the shot is deflected to the nether regions of Brunson. Time out briefly, and we’re back. Romero is loading up for a big uppercut or hook, but Brunson lands a hard elbow in the meantime. Romero misses with wide, wild shots. Romero connects with the lead left and the right to the body. Brunson nails the takedown and is in half guard with 2 min. left. And now Brunson has the mount. Romero isn’t doing much from the botton but is avoiding any real punishment. Brunson is back in half guard, and they’re up. Romero is throwing for the KO uppercut but misses the mark. Romero misses a few takedowns, and that’s the bell.

Rd. 3 – Brunson circles away as Romero wades in for the close-quarters assault. Brunson’s half-assed takedown is stuffed with one hand. The pace has slowed markedly. Each man flicks a kick at the opponent’s lead leg. Big right from Romero drops Brunson to a knee, but he’s back up. Knee from Brunson now. Romero is loading up that uppercut. Big left from Romero. And another…Brunson is down! Romero is on him. Brunson is down and bloodied, and Romero is elbowing the shit out of his right ribs. That’s it.

Yoel Romero wins via Rd. 3 TKO (elbows).

TJ Dillashaw vs. Mike Easton

Rd. 1 – Easton fires a side kick immediately. Both men are throwing hard and moving forward early on. Dillashaw slips and lands a right. Dillashaw kicks the body. Easton returns the favor and drops Dillashaw for a second. Dillashaw grabs Easton’s knees and had his down against the cage. Easton has Dillashaw in his guard, pushes Dillashaw away with his legs, and is back up to his feet. Dillashaw clinches and takes some knees from Easton. They separate. Dillashaw lands some good short fists as he comes forward. Left uppercut-right cross combo hits for Dillashaw. Nice one. Dillashaw switches to south[paw and lands a knee to the chin. Dillashaw nails Easton with two big rights, and Easton circles away from the power. Good action.

Rd. 2 - Dillashaw is definitely landing the harder, more crisp punches, but Easton isn’t going anywhere. Easton misses the takedown, Dillashaw takes his back, and Easton finds himself fighting off a very aggressive Dillashaw from half guard. Easton’s left eye is cut. Dillashaw pounds away with the left hand. Easton is up, but takes a knee from Dillashaw. Oooh. Easton misses two spinning kicks and is again smothered by Dillashaw. Easton is down on a knee with his back to the fence and with Dillashaw in his half guard once again. Easton is up, but Dillashaw is on his back, looking to get both hooks in. Dillashaw knees Easton’s legs. Easton can’t shake Dillashaw off his back. More knees from Dillashaw. Easton wants the straight elbow, but Dillashaw slips away.

Rd. 3 - Dillashaw connects with a short uppercut in the center of the cage.  Easton looks frustrated offensively and eats a right hook from Dillashaw. Big left kick to the body from Dillashaw, who seems to be in complete control of the striking exchanges. Dillashaw connects with a front kick that keeps Easton back. Easton is coming in, looking for something, but Dillashaw lands shots before Easton can make up his mind. Dillashaw is pulling away, it seems. Easton wants to clinch; Dillashaw punches his face, so no more clinch. Dillashaw is landing his combination punches seemingly at will. Easton is throwing punches in isolation, and Dillashaw is kneeing and punching as the bell sounds. Easton was dominated.

TJ Dillashaw wins via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3).

Brad Tavares vs. Lorenz Larkin

Rd. 1 – Tavares opens with an inside leg kick. Tavares connects with a left hook. Larkin ust misses with the Super Man punch, and Tavares counters with the left-right combo. Larkin’s uppercut is just off the mark. Larkin brings a hard kick upstairs that Tavares blocks. Tavares throws a high klick of his own now. Tavares again kicks at the lead leg. Larkin reciprocates with the same kick. Larkin lands a punch combo from close range. Larkin kicks the lead leg, but Tavares counters with a straight punch. Larkin misses a wild kick and Tavares takes his back. Tavares drags him to a knee and has his back. Horn.

Rd. 2 – Again Tavares targets the lead leg with kicks, and he follows up with a left-right. Larkin just misses with the uppercut – looked good, but nothing. Tavares keeps kicking and follows with two punches to the facial. Tavares is keeping it simple and is winning this fight, kids.  Larkin misses another uppercut and eats a counter right from Tavares. Tavares works the body, and both men are kicking one another’s lead thighs. Tavares goes for a single, gets the takedown, and has Larkin’s back. Both hooks are in and he wants the RNC. Tavares with the hammer heels to Larkin’s right leg. Larkin escapes and is in Tavares’s guard for the final seconds of the frame.

Rd. 3 – Tavares comes out hot: punching, kicking, charging forward. The Larkin offense has been confined to missed uppercuts and some successful kicks to Tavares’s left thigh, but nothing so far from the right hand. Larkin just landed a pretty good elbow, but Tavares answers with the right hand. Larkin kicks to the body, but Tavares catches the kick and goes for the takedown. Larkin grabs the head for a guillotine, but Tavares sprawls out. Tavares lands a cracking right hand, shoots in on Larkin, and presses him against the fence. Larkin lands some vicious elbows to the ear. Those look horrible. Tavares snatches a single, but Larkin stays up and lands a good uppercut, finally. Tavares again wants the single, but Larkin avoids it. Horn.

Brad Tavares wins via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3).

Costas Philippou vs Luke Rockhold

Rd. 1 - Philippou opens things up with a shot to the body. Rockhold answers with a body kick. Philippou is circling and Rockhold connects with a right hook that drops the Long Islander. Philippou is right up and lands a big right of his own. Rockhold lands a hard kick to the head. Philippou is bleeding but still connects with another right. WHOA! Rockhold threw a left kick to the body, punched upstairs, and then kicked the body again and dropped Philippou. Herb Dean rushed in and waved it off.

Luke Rockhold wins via Rd. 1 TKO (body kick).

That’ll do ‘er.

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