Sicilia: I believe I should be fighting better guys
Easton remains loyal to Llyod Irvin
Sam Sicilia made a statement his last time in the Octagon. That statement is one he says came at the expense of Godofredo “Pepey” Castro, who he explains couldn’t beat Sicilia if given 100 opportunities.
Sicilia says he’s on a different level.
“That’s a guy I can beat 100 times out of 100 times,” Sicilia told MMAWeekly.com. “I believe I should be fighting better guys and I kind of had to make it look like that. Beating him in a decision, or even if he had moments where it looked like he was getting the better of me, wouldn’t look good. I just wanted to show that I’m on a different level and shut him off and get out of the cage.”
Philippou: Fighting is not my life
Mike Easton has been a student of Llyod Irvin since he started MMA, and despite his mentor's legal troubles, stands behind the man he believes did nothing wrong:
"A lot of people make mistakes. Before people point fingers, they should look at themselves. What have they done? What’s in their past? Everything that was said on the Internet, those people try to judge something that happened years ago...Haters are gonna hate, and congratulators are gonna congratulate."
At the same time, Easton is effusive in defending Irvin the person, highlighting Irvin’s good deeds and taking critics and ex-students to task for pushing personal agendas and lacking—you guessed it—loyalty.
“I love master Lloyd Irvin,” Easton said. “Master Irvin delivered turkeys on Thanksgiving. If there’s a kid who trains at his gym but can’t come up with the money, he’ll let them train for free. If you met him, I guarantee you’ll fall in love with him. People who leave the team, you see where their heart is.”
For Luke Rockhold, desired Vitor Belfort rematch hinges on UFC Fight Night 35 win
Based out of Long Island, N.Y., Philippou says he won’t lose a minute of sleep if he someday ends his career having never fought for a world title. He understands it’s a weird stance to have as a martial artist, but that’s just the way it is.
"I don't care about the fame or being called a champion. It's just a means to an end right now. Get a little money to move on to the next step of my life. Fighting is not my life. It's something I'm good at and it's what I do right now.
“I don’t care about the fame or being called a champion. It’s just a means to an end right now. Get a little money to move on to the next step of my life. Fighting is not my life. It’s something I’m good at and it’s what I do right now.”
That doesn’t mean, Philippou says, he lacks motivation to improve. Since his last fight, a unanimous decision loss to Francis Carmont at UFC 165, Philippou has worked especially hard on defensive grappling.
“The Vitor loss was tough – it’s a tough one to suck up,” Rockhold told USA TODAY Sports. “I’ve somewhat moved on, and I’m focused on what’s ahead of me, but it’s definitely still something (I think about). … I think I can definitely rewrite that story a little better, and I’d like a rematch somewhere down the line. Obviously I’m tired of people talking about that kick.”
But the Californian, who trains at the renowned American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, knows any chance he has to work on the rewrite has to start against Philippou, who recently was on the verge of title contention, as well.
Philippou had a five-fight winning streak snapped with a loss to Francis Carmont in September, and the Frenchman may have drawn up the blueprint for how to fight the Cyprus-born New Yorker.
“Costa’s a good, solid boxer who knows how to gauge the distance and keep the fight where he wants it for the most part,” Rockhold said. “Carmont definitely exposed a weakness in his game. … He’s got to get through my arsenal of strikes, and the thing is, if he gets too close, he might just trip and fall into a guillotine or a ground-and-pound situation.”
And that might be the best way for Rockhold to start to put the Belfort loss behind him – just to get moving forward again toward a rematch.
It’s that loss and eye on the future he’s using as motivation tonight, and that, he believes, is a bad thing for Philippou.
“This is not a good time to fight me,” he said. “It’s the wrong place and wrong time to be fighting me. Now it’s time for me to do my thing here. I didn’t come here to be second best or to just be a journeyman. I came here to be the best – the best of the best.”
UFC Fight Night 35’s Luke Rockhold not ruling out future move to light heavyweight
UFC president: This is the moment ‘that can change everything’ for Brad Tavares
“At 210 (pounds), I feel strong; I feel faster than most light heavyweights I spar with,” he said. “There’s definitely a possibility in the near future that I could be moving up and getting some fights there.”
For now, he’s got his eyes fixed on his next bout, which comes at middleweight against Constantinos Philippou(12-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a headliner at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 35. The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga., hosts the event, which airs live on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Rockhold said leading into the bout, his weight is where it was in 2011 when he faced Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
“I think that’s a big issue,” he told MMAjunkie. “You’ve got to be consistent. People have off-days, so you want to be as consistent as possible and make that one night … one of those good nights.”
His performance against Souza obviously was one of those good nights, as he outpointed the tough Brazilian to capture the middleweight title in the now-defunct promotion. His most recent performance, however, was quite the opposite.
A head-kick from Vitor Belfort ended Rockhold’s first push toward the UFC middleweight belt, and now he’s resetting for another climb when he meets Philippou, who was outpointed by Francis Camont in his previous performance.
On the scale at 185, Rockhold repeatedly has shown up looking absolutely miserable, and on at least one occasion, he’s needed more time to cut weight.
This time around, he doesn’t anticipate the same situation. But if the circumstances line up the right way, he won’t need to worry much about the number he hits.
“It wouldn’t be a permanent move at this point, no doubt,” he said of a bout at 205 pounds. “It would be an experiment, to get some interesting fights. But obviously, I have plenty ahead of me in the middle of the middleweight division.
“If there’s a lapse in time or I get the right opponent, I’ll move up.”
Rockhold, Miller, Brunson, & Romero earn $50k performance bonuses
“For a guy like Brad Tavares, he’s finally made it to the co-main-event position, and these are those moments that can change everything for a guy,” UFC President Dana White tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie. “If he goes in and wins, and wins impressively over Lorenz Larkin, it’s … huge for his career.”
Tavares entered the UFC as a relative neophyte to the sport, earning his spot on “TUF 11” just five fights into his professional career. Eventual show winner Court McGee eliminated the Hawaiian in the semifinal round of the reality series’ 32-man tournament, but Tavares was still offered a UFC contract and has made the most of his opportunity, earning six wins in his seven UFC appearances to date.
But Wednesday’s event marks Tavares’ opportunity to step out of the shadows since his previous UFC appearances were largely relegated to UFC preliminary cards.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years now, and I still feel like I’m growing,” Tavares says. “Every camp, I’m still learning more. I still love the sport, and I still feel like there’s so much more for me to know, but I definitely feel I can compete with anybody in my division.”
It’s an interesting time in the UFC’s middleweight division. With Silva losing twice to now-champion Weidman, not to mention nursing a badly broken leg, his future remains uncertain. Vitor Belfort is up next for the belt, but the rest of the division is wide open, and now seems to be as good of a time as any to make a run toward the top of the class.
“You’ve got Chris Weidman, who beat the champ twice,” White says. “You’ve got Vitor Belfort coming next. You’ve got Lyoto Machida lined up in there too, and (Ronaldo) ‘Jacare’ Souza. Anderson wants to come back. It’s fun. It’s an exciting time in the middleweight division.”
If nothing else, the Tavares vs. Larkin matchup appears likely to prove a crowd-pleasing scrap. Both are strike-first fighters who are willing to trade in the pocket while hunting for a knockout. If there’s been a criticism of Tavares’ game, it’s his defensive wrestling, though the 26-year-old doesn’t believe that will prove an issue in this particular matchup.
“I like Larkin’s style since he tries to mix it up,” Tavares says. “He tries to get creative. There are a few things that I’ve seen him do in past fights that I don’t think will work against me. If you give him the opportunity and the space to do what he wants to do, he’s going to do it. But If I implement my game plan, then I don’t think he’ll be able to get off his offense.”
Tavares enters the fight as a slight underdog, according to oddsmakers, but as White points out, sometimes that public doubt can make a strong performance that much more memorable.
“You look at a guy like Alexander Gustafsson,” White said. “When we made that fight with Jon Jones, the fans and the media were complaining and saying that Alexander Gustafsson didn’t deserve the shot, that Jon Jones was going to walk right through him. Then look at the fight. Gustafsson became a superstar after that fight.
“One fight can change everything for you. For Brad Tavares on Wednesday night, this could be that fight for him.”
UFC Fight Night 35 draws reported 5,822 attendance for $231,951 live gate
Luke Rockhold, Cole Miller, Yoel Romero and Derek Brunson each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 35 event.
Rockhold earned the “Knockout of the Night,” Miller won “Submission of the Night” and Romero and Brunson picked up “Fight of the Night” honors. UFC President Dana White announced the winners at the night’s post-event news conference, which MMAjunkie attended.
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UFC Quick Quote: Yoel Romero claims water, not poop, was to blame for dark stain on shorts
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UFC Fight Night 35 results: Cole Miller and Derek Brunson injuries include broken bones and fractured jaw
At some point throughout the first two frames, "Magrinho" suffered another broken hand (left one this time) and will possibly need surgery. When Miller is healthy, however, he will return riding a two-fight win streak. The same can not be said for the 30-year-old product of Greg Jackson's MMA.
Dana White ✔ @danawhite
Just went to the hospital to see @DerekBrunsonMMA he has a fractured jaw. He is waiting to have surgery.