UFC 148: Saturday, July 7, 2012 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Middleweight Contender Constantinos Philippou (-205) Profile: Following an unsuccessful attempt at making a team on The Ultimate Fighter 11: Liddell vs. Ortiz, Constantinos Philippou (10-2) was still able to make it to the UFC as a late replacement to fight Nick Catone at UFC 128. Although he lost his promotional debut via unanimous decision, the Greek Serra BJJ-trained fighter has gone on to win his last three UFC fights in a row, beating vet Jorge Rivera and TUF 11 winner Court McGee. At 32 years of age and only four years of pro experience behind him, Philippou simply needs to keep taking advantage of his opportunities and win consistently to stay in the UFC over the long haul. UFC Middleweight Contender Riki Fukuda (+165) Profile: Riki Fukuda (18-5) has been a mainstay on the Japanese fighting circuit for nearly a decade, competing in Shooto, Dream (defeating Ninja Rua) and K-1 in addition to being the Deep middleweight champion. The 31-year-old Japanese fighter made the jump to the UFC in February 2011 at UFC 144, losing a controversial unanimous decision to Nick Ring in which Fukuda clearly controlled the fight with takedowns. To right the wrong by the judges, an upset UFC president Dana White paid both fighters their win bonuses. In his next bout with the promotion, Fukuda defeated Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision. Now, Fukuda hopes to use his dominating wrestling style once again at UFC 148 against Philippou in a battle of two up-and-coming fighters. Opening UFC 148 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Philippou a solid -205 favorite (bet $205 to win $100) while Fukuda opened as a +165 underdog (bet $100 to win $165) according to the MMA odds. UFC 148 represents another outstanding opportunity for Philippou to showcase his skills and impress the brass at the UFC. He has proven that there can be a bright future for young fighters who fail to make the cut on TUF if they stay dedicated to MMA and continue to improve. Beating McGee showed the UFC he belonged on the show, but he needs to keep winning against better competition like Fukuda if he is going to move into the MMA fighter rankings. Fukuda also has a lot to gain from a victory against Philippou as he looks to do the same thing by making amother good impression and rising up the ranks.
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