Heavy hitting middleweight Costas Philippou rebounded in a big way this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva.
In a seemingly must win fight for both Philippou and his opponent Lorenz Larkin, the pair met in the middle of the cage with a clear sense of urgency and threw caution to the wind in what was an entertaining few minutes of action, before a crushing right hand from Philippou sealed the deal and sent Larkin crumpling to the canvas at the 3:47 mark of the first round.
Coming into the bout, both men had dropped two of their last three fights under the UFC banner, and while neither top 15 middleweight was in danger of losing their job on Saturday night, their relevancy in the division was clearly at stake. After the dust cleared, it was the Serra-Longo product, Costas Philippou, who came away with the victory and his future aspirations of title contention intact.
After losing in consecutive fights to top 10 contenders Francis Carmont and Luke Rockhold, the dangerous slugger from Cyprus was in clear need of a marquee victory, and he found just that in his stunning knockout win over the highly regarded striker Larkin.
After several minutes of intense action the boxing oriented Philippou was able to press the action up against the cage and stifle the dynamic standup game of Lorenz Larkin to a close quarters attack. Here he capitalized on his advantage in the hands department and leveled the dangerous Larkin with a murderous right hand that sent his opponent face first into the canvas before referee Keith Peterson jumped in to save the helpless fighter from any further damage.
This win moves Costas Philippou back into the No. 10 spot in the UFC middleweight rankings and should set up the heavy handed 185 pounder to get a shot at a more high profile fight in the division.
Coincidentally, the No. 12 ranked contender and former Olympic Silver Medalist Yoel Romero is coming off of a dominant performance of Brad Tavares this past month, and a win for either man in this potential matchup of highly explosive middleweights could catapult them into the upper echelon at 185 pounds.