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UFC Fight Night 35: Rockhold vs. Philippou: Full card predictions

SINGAPORE - JANUARY 04: Tatsuya Kawajiri reacts after defeating Sean Soriano during their UFC Fight Night Singapore featherweight bout at Marina Bay Sands on January 4, 2014 in Singapore.
SINGAPORE - JANUARY 04: Tatsuya Kawajiri reacts after defeating Sean Soriano during their UFC Fight Night Singapore featherweight bout at Marina Bay Sands on January 4, 2014 in Singapore.
Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

UFC Fight Night 35 goes down this Wednesday, January 15 at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia. Online prelims start at 4:00p.m., then Fox Sports prelims air at 5:00p.m., and finally the main card can be seen on Sportsnet 360 (other local providers) at 7:00p.m. The main event will feature a bout between former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold and rising Middleweight star Costa Philippou. Enjoy the predictions and the fights.

Online Prelims: 1-1-0

170 lbs. – Charlie Brenneman (4-4 UFC) vs. Beneil Dariush (0-0 UFC) – Brenneman via decision
Dariush is a solid all-around fighter with power and versatility in his strikes as well as a great grappling game. Brenneman could struggle with Dariush but his wrestling skill shoud keep him in top control. Wrong - Dariush via submission

155 lbs. – Vinc Pichel (0-1 UFC) vs. Garrett Whiteley (0-1 UFC) – Pinchel via TKO
Both men are strikers at heart and should keep it standing. Whiteley has good boxing skill with power, but Pinchel has more power and a better chin so expect to see an aggressive style from Pinchel. Correct plus method

Fox Sports Prelims: 2-2-0

125 lbs. – Alptekin Ozkilic (1-0 UFC) vs. Louis Smolka (0-0 UFC) – Ozkilic via decision
Smolka has great grappling and a lot of heart, but he lacks striking defense which Ozkilic will take advantage of with his power. Ozkilic will defend takedowns and beat up Smolka on the feet. Wrong - Smolka via U. decision

185 lbs. – Trevor Smith (0-1 UFC) vs. Brian Houston (0-1 UFC) – Houston via TKO
Smith is an experienced grappler with great submission skills, but he’ll likely struggle to get Houston to the ground to begin with. On the feet Houston will have a striking advantage with his power and speed. Wrong - Smith via S. decision

155 lbs. – Isaac Vallie-Flagg (1-0 UFC) vs. Elias Silverio (1-0 UFC) – Silverio via decision
Silverio is undefeated at 9-0 and has great striking skill as well as a solid grappling game. Vallie-Flagg is also well rounded, but his striking isn’t as crisp and technical as Silverio’s which should be the difference. Correct plus method

155 lbs. – Ramsey Nijem (3-3 UFC) vs. Justin Edwards (2-3 UFC) – Nijem via decision
Nijem has decent striking, but he’s more of a wrestler with great cardio. Edwards is more of a submission grappler, but his lack of cardio will get him into trouble during later rounds. Correct plus method

Main Card: 6-0-0 Total MMA Predictions: 416-230-2 = 64%

145 lbs. – Cole Miller (9-6 UFC) vs. Sam Sicilia (2-2 UFC) - Miller via submission
Miller is coming off his first decision victory in over 6 years in a fight against Andy Ogle where he showed good technical striking, solid defense and multiple submission attacks. Sicilia is coming off a TKO victory against Godofredo Castro in which he showed huge power both in his boxing and his ground and pound. On the feet it will be a battle between the long reach of Miller and the power of Sicilia, but expect Miller to gain a slight advantage as the fight goes on and Sicilia fatigues. Sicilia may be able to land a few takedowns against Miller, but he’ll need to avoid the submission attacks of Miller’s long limbs. This fight will get to the ground and Miller should get the finish. Correct plus method

125 lbs. – John Moraga (2-1 UFC) vs. Dustin Ortiz (1-0 UFC) - Moraga via decision
Moraga is coming off a submission loss to Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, but Moraga showed a lot of heart and skill by almost going the distance with the champion in only his 3rd UFC fight. Ortiz made his debut as an underdog against a talented Jose Tome, but managed to out wrestle his opponent and finished him with g&p during round 3. Both men have solid boxing skills and also use kicks, but Moraga should have an easy time with Ortiz’s striking after fighting Demetrious Johnson. Moraga will likely use his NCAA division 1 wrestling skills to put Ortiz on his back and work his own g&p or submissions. Ortiz is a talented young fighter who will be in the UFC for years, but Moraga is a more polished version of Ortiz and will show it. Correct plus method

185 lbs. – Yoel Romero (2-0 UFC) vs. Derek Brunson (2-0 UFC) - Romero via TKO
Romero has been very impressive with only 2 fights inside the octagon, but both were wins via KO in which Romero showed great wrestling skills and powerful striking. Brunson is also coming off 2 straight wins, but showcased more wrestling and submission skills. On the feet Romero will have a big advantage with his powerful punches and knees. Brunson may look for takedowns, but Romero is a world champion in freestyle wrestling and should dictate whether or not the fight goes to the ground. Romero will defend takedowns and look for the knockout against Brunson. Correct plus method

135 lbs. – T.J. Dillashaw (4-2 UFC) vs. Mike Easton (3-2 UFC) - Dillashaw via decision
Dillashaw is coming off a split decision loss to top contender Raphael Assuncao, but put on a fight of the night performance and showed great striking but couldn’t get his wrestling going. Easton is coming off 2 straight decision losses to Assuncao and Brad Pickett. On the feet Dillashaw should have a slight advantage, but both men have speed and technique so it will be fairly even. Dillashaw has great wrestling skill and will likely be able to land takedowns on Easton as well as stay out of any submissions. Dillashaw will be the better striker and wrestler in this fight. Correct plus method

185 lbs. – Lorenz Larkin (1-1 UFC) vs. Brad Tavares (6-1 UFC) - Tavares via submission
Tavares is on a 4 fight win streak and consistently shows skill in every area of mixed martial arts as well as a ton of heart. Larkin is a very skilled striker with speed and power in both his punches and kicks, but he doesn’t have much grappling skill. On the feet Larkin will have the advantage with his speed and use of kicks, but Tavares will not just let Larkin get off unanswered strikes. Tavares will look to counter with his strikes, but mostly clinch work or takedowns to take Larkin out of his element. Tavares is a much more well-rounded fighter than Larkin and will look for a submission. Correct (Tavares via U. decision)

185 lbs. – Luke Rockhold (0-1 UFC) vs. Constantinos Philippou (5-2 UFC) - Rockhold via decision
Rockhold is coming off a KO loss to Vitor Belfort after making a solid run as the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion. Philippou was on a 5 fight win streak before running into a tough Francis Carmont in his last fight and lost via unanimous decision. On the feet Philippou will have a slight advantage with his powerful boxing, but as the fight goes on Philippou will likely tire and lose that power. Rockhold will look to implement his wrestling and submission skills, but Philippou has shown strong takedown defense in recent fights. Philippou has a chance to get that KO finish, but Rockhold should be able to strike with Philippou and spend plenty of time in dominant positions while on the ground. Correct (Rockhold via TKO)