While One “Promise” Was Unfulfilled Constantinos Philippou Is Given A Major Opportunity At UFC 155

By Raphael Garcia

As the Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to build its roster of fighters, it becomes more and more likely that some individuals will fly under the radar. With so many different athletes competing across eight weight classes, it takes a lot to stand out and grab ahold of everyone’s attention at once. With that in mind, one such individual, Constantinos Philippou, has been given an opportunity to make a huge splash in the middleweight division.

Philippou had been set to fight Nick Ring at UFC 154, but his opponent was forced off of the card the day before the event when he was unable to get medically cleared. However, Ring’s respiratory issues may have been a blessing in disguise for Philippou, because he is now given the opportunity to step into a fight with a potential middleweight title contender. Chris Weidman suffered a torn labrum, which has resulted in him being pulled from a UFC 155 bout with Tim Boetsch that was sure to set up the next challenger for Anderson Silva’s championship. Now Philippou gets that opportunity, and with a victory it would be hard not to place him among the highest-ranked fighters in the weight class.

Still, some fans may not have any idea who this fighter is. The Serra-Longo team member is riding a four-fight win streak in the Octagon since dropping his debut, which was a late notice bout against Nick Catone at UFC 128. Since then he’s pulled two victories each in 2011 and 2012, a streak which includes three decisions and one knockout. Before coming over to the UFC, Philippou was riding a seven-fight unbeaten streak in the New Jersey-based Ring of Combat promotion. Quietly, he’s become a person of interest in the middleweight division, as he has shown a diverse skill set that is bolstered by his ability to keep the fight standing so that he can use his technical boxing abilities.

According to Fight Metric, Philippou’s ability to keep fights standing has allowed him to throw a high volume of strikes in each of his contests. In 23 minutes of action, he’s landed 181 of 497 significant strikes while fending off 85 percent of the takedowns that come his way. During his current win streak, one of the things that has stood out is the way that Philippou has used combinations to keep his opponents on their heels for most of each contest.

He’s going to have to lean heavily on those skills if he’s going to defeat Boetsch. Boetsch is a true power striker who looks to level his opponents with one blow. He has never been a technical striker, but his ability to quickly change a contest with one punch has been the key to his success. As we saw when he fought Yushin Okami, he has tremendous power that can change a fight at the last moment. He struggles against more technical strikers that can hit and move from range, and while he will have a slight reach advantage over Philippou, it will be interesting to see how well he deals with his movement and combination striking. 

Constantinos Philippou has quietly and steadily climbed the ranks in the UFC, and a twist of fate has placed him in a position to capitalize on some key injuries. If he can defeat Tim Boetsch at UFC 155, he will have a solid grasp on a top 3 or 4 position within the middleweight division, and could potentially be one victory away from a middleweight title shot.

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