luke-rockhold-ufc-fight-night-35

(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

DULUTH, Ga. – To say Luke Rockhold is in a critical situation Wednesday might be an understatement.

The former Strikeforce middleweight champion gets his second shot at success in the UFC after a promotional debut this past May that he’d love to forget.

Rockhold (10-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) meets Constantinos Philippou (12-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 35, which takes place at Arena at Gwinnett Center, just north of Atlanta (5 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1).

In May, Rockhold made his UFC debut after crossing over from Strikeforce as its final 185-pound champion. A win over Vitor Belfort might have thrust him right into a title consideration. But instead, Belfort landed a spinning kick to the head, and Rockhold found a permanent spot on the wrong end of a highlight reel.

It’s a loss Rockhold has been thinking about avenging ever since it happened, including the time in the fall he was sidelined with a knee injury. After eight months, he finally gets a chance to start to put that loss in the rear view mirror.

“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.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 35, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC 198 Free Fight: Vitor Belfort Knocks Out Michael Bisping

  • 23 days ago
  • 61 views

Vitor Belfort is 6-0 in Brazil while fighting in the UFC. Belfort looks to remain unbeaten in his home country when he faces Jacare Souza in the co-main event at UFC 198. read news >>

UFC 198 Countdown Video: Jacare Souza vs. Vitor Belfort

  • 17 days ago
  • 38 views

Go inside the training camps of middleweight contenders as they prepare for UFC 198. Vitor Belfort and Jacare Souza fight for a possible title shot. read news >>

UFC 198: Jacare Souza vs. Vitor Belfort, a Head-to-Toe Breakdown

  • 16 days ago
  • 13 views

UFC 198 plays host to a heavyweight title tilt on Saturday, May 14, but that isn't the only big fight on the incredible card. Bleacher Report's No. 3-ranked middleweight Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza takes read news >>

Belfort living the dream decades into career

  • 15 days ago
  • 0 views

Almost 20 years since his Octagon debut, Vitor Belfort is showing no signs of slowing in search of ufc glory read news >>

UFC 198 Joe Rogan Video Preview: Vitor Belfort vs. Jacare Souza

  • 12 days ago
  • 83 views

With possible title shot implications, the fight between Jacare Souza and Vitor Belfort will be an all out war. Hear UFC commentator Joe Rogan's take on the bout. read news >>

Ronaldo Souza vs. Vitor Belfort Results: Winner and Reaction from UFC 198

  • 12 days ago
  • 33 views

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza put himself back into title contention at UFC 198 with a first-round technical-knockout win over Vitor Belfort in the co-main event in Brazil on Saturday. MMAFighting.com provi read news >>

UFC 198 Results: Jacare Souza Dominates Vitor Belfort, Calls for Title Shot

  • 12 days ago
  • 14 views

Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza dominated Vitor Belfort in the UFC 198 co-main event on Saturday and called for a title shot following the one-sided TKO win. read news >>

UFC 198 Video Highlights: Vitor Belfort vs. Jacare Souza

  • 12 days ago
  • 43 views

Watch the video highlights from the UFC 198 co-main event between middleweight contenders Vitor Belfort and Jacare Souza. The two Brazilians fought for a potential title shot. read news >>

Chris Weidman Reportedly Pulls out of UFC 199 vs. Luke Rockhold Due to Injury

  • 9 days ago
  • 35 views

The most likely candidate may be Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, who needed only one round to knock out Vitor Belfort at UFC 198 on Saturday. Fighting in back-to-back months would be something of a Herculean read news >>

UFC 199 Free Fight: Luke Rockhold Takes the Title from Chris Weidman

  • 9 days ago
  • 29 views

Re-watch the thrilling fight from UFC 194 when Luke Rockhold took the middleweight belt from Chris Weidman. read news >>