UFC Fight Night 35 came and went, leaving me pondering potential match-ups for some of the losers of the evening… Alpetkin Ozkilic vs Dustin Ortiz – This is a pairing of flyweights who each came up short on the judges’ scorecards at UFC Fight Night 35. Ozkilic was upset by Hawaiian promotional newcomer Louis Smolka, while Ortiz was outpointed by John Moraga in a controversial split-decision. I think Ozkilic vs Ortiz would be a terrific bout at 125 pounds. They are both currently 1-1 inside the Octagon, and I think they match-up well against each other. This fight would probably be found somewhere towards the bottom of a preliminary card, and I think it would be one that would produce fireworks. Lorenz Larkin vs Alan Belcher – I really love this middleweight match-up between two strikers. Simply put, I think this would be a fantastic bout, and would definitely be in the running for Fight of the Night. Larkin just came up short against Brad Tavares at UFC Fight Night 35, while Belcher has been on a long layoff since being outpointed by Michael Bisping nearly nine months ago. I don’t think pitting these two middleweights together has crossed anybody’s mind, but I hope Joe Silva gets wind of this, because I believe putting these two in a cage together would produce exciting results. Derek Brunson vs Dylan Andrews – Brunson was up two rounds against Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero, but lost by TKO in the third round, after Romero broke his jaw, and delivered elbows to his body on the mat. He will need some time off, as will Andrews who is working through injuries of his own after hurting his shoulder against Clint Hester in Australia. This would be an interesting match-up, and one that makes plenty of sense. I see it towards the bottom of a preliminary card, but it could very well be a sleeper for Fight of the Night. Costa Philippou vs CB Dollaway – This is a middleweight match-up looks great on paper, and has a good chance of being a fun fight. Dolloway has been having exciting wars recently, and I think one with Philippou may top the rest. He hasn’t seen action since losing a controversial decision to Tim Boetsch at UFC 166 three months ago, and is ready to get back in there. I’m sure Philippou is ready to get back in the Octagon quickly, as well, having just lost in the first round of action against Luke Rockhold at Fight Night 35. He took a couple of hard shots, but did not walk away from the bout with any injuries. I believe this match-up could be put together soon, and I could see it headlining a preliminary card. Sam Sicilia vs Nik Lentz – Washington’s Sam Sicilia just suffered submission loss at the hands of Cole Miller at Fight Night 35. Miller hurt him on the feet, then finished him on the mat with his signature rear naked choke. Lentz came up short against Chad Mendes, losing unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. I think Lentz would be a -280 favorite in this spot, but the fight would probably be more competitive than that line suggests. If Sicilia could find success in using his wrestling background to keep the fight on the feet, like he has done in the past, he could very well find success against Lentz. They are both showing improvements in the striking department, so it would be hard for me to confidently give an edge to either of them. However, if Lentz is able to find success with his takedowns, then he will prove to be worth every bit of that -280. Sicilia is not easy to take down, though. Miller didn’t get him to the mat until his fists put him there. This match-up may not make a ton of sense, but I wouldn’t miss it. Charlie Brenneman vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg – Both of these lightweights were unsuccessful at Fight Night 35. Brenneman was dropped by Baneil Dariush with a punch, and then got caught in a rear naked choke. Giving up the tap, he lost in his return to the Octagon, and snapped a four fight winning streak at 155 pounds. Vallie-Flagg showed great heart, but came up short against Elias Silverio, losing a one-sided unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. I think pitting these two together makes plenty of sense, and could result in a potentially great fight.
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