This Wednesday the UFC brings you a great card that’s full of intriguing matchups. The card is headlined by a fight between former StrikeForce Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold and top ten fighter Costa Philippou and features a co-headliner between rising middleweights Brad Tavares and Lorenz Larkin. Including the fighters in the card’s headliners there are multiple fighters to look out for come fight night. Here are the top five fighters to watch at UFC Fight Night 35:
1. Luke Rockhold (10-2)
The former StrikeForce Middleweight champion will be looking to get back on the winning track this Wednesday when he faces Costa Philippou in the event’s headliner. We last saw Rockhold on the wrong end of a Vitor Belfort highlight reel knockout. Rockhold entered the bout with Belfort as a slight favorite but was unable to escape the first round. Fans who have exclusively watched the UFC may not know how good Luke Rockhold is. Rockhold finished his StrikeForce career undefeated with his last three wins being over the likes of Tim Kennedy, Keith Jardine, and Jacare Souza. Look for Rockhold to erase the dissapointment of his UFC debut with the best performance of his career.
2. Lorenz Larkin (14-1, 1 NC)
Lorenz Larkin has looked impressive since coming over from StrikeForce to the UFC even though he only has a 1-1 record with the promotion. Larkin’s debut was a controversial decision loss to now number eight ranked Francis Carmont. In that bout Larkin should vastly improved takedown defense and soundly outstruck Carmont on the feet. Unfortunately for Larkin, the judges decided that failed takedown attempts against the cage counted more than strikes landed. In his second UFC bout Larkin left no room for controversy as he absolutely dominated Chris Camozzi for fifteen minutes. Look for Larkin to make his case as one of the top prospects in the middleweight division Wednesday.
3. Yoel Romero (6-1)
Thirty-seven year old Olympic Wrestler Yoel Romero has made quite an impact in mixed martial arts at such a late age. After losing his only fight in StrikeForce to Rafael Cavalcante, Romero dropped to middleweight then starched Clifford Starks and Ronny Markes inside the UFC. Romero’s 100% knockout rate make him a must watch fighter every time he competes. Look for Romero to go for the finish early this Wednesday as he takes on fellow StrikeForce import Derek Brunson.
4. John Moraga
John Moraga quickly rose up the UFC flyweight ranks in 2012 with back-to-back stoppage wins over highly ranked flyweights Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso before being offered a title fight with division king Demetrious Johnson. Moraga ran into a quicker and more technical fighter against Johnson and was badly beaten before being submitted in the fifth round. Moraga’s fight this Wednesday with Dustin Ortiz is an important one for the Arizona Combat Sports product as he will be looking to prove that his early UFC success was no fluke. Expect Moraga to be the best version of himself this Wednesday.
5. Charlie Brenneman
Charlie Brenneman was one of the UFC’s feel good stories of 2011 after beating highly touted Rick Story on one day’s notice in his hometown. After his win over Story, Brenneman’s fairy-tale ending never came as he was cut by the promotion after a 1-3 streak which included losses to Anthony Johnson, Erick Silva, and Kyle Noke. Brenneman went back to the drawing board after his release deciding to drop from welterweight to lightweight. The change in weight did wonders for Brenneman as he went 4-0 on the local circuit before getting his call back to the UFC. Look for Brenneman to make a big impact in his return to the UFC.