Francis Carmont was coming off of two highly debatable decision wins heading into Saturday night’s UFC 165 in Toronto. Perhaps aware that his luck with the judges had to run out eventually, he employed an extremely effective wrestling based game plan to completely neutralize a frustrated Costa Philippou and clearly win every round.
Both fighters were riding five-fight winning streaks, but it was Carmont who came out of the blocks the quickest for this middleweight bout. He scored his first takedown after less than a minute into the fight and Philippou remained underneath the Canadian for the remainder of the round. While the action was far from intense, the local favorite clearly established a lead on the scorecards.
The strategy seemed to take the Cypriot by surprise and Carmont stuck to it, scoring another takedown barely 30 seconds into round two. He continued to score with sporadic strikes from top position, but referee John McCarthy was not sufficiently impressed to allow him to see out the round there and stood the fighters up with just over two minutes remaining.
Philippou knew he needed to do something dramatic to change the course of the fight, but Carmont’s kicks kept him out of range. With just under a minute left in round two, the Tristar fighter secured a second takedown and stayed on top until the bell.
Round three followed a similar pattern, but mindful of the controversial nature of his two most recent wins, Carmont decided to pick up the pace after taking Philippou down and launched a concerted ground and pound offensive.
Philippou looked dejected and utterly bereft of ideas as Carmont continued to rain down punches and hammerfists. The decision was a foregone conclusion, but one of the three judges was sufficiently impressed by the Canadian’s work rate award him a 10-8 round, meaning that the final scorecards read 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
With the victory, Carmont improves to 22-7 overall and 6-0 in the UFC. He might not have won many new fans with this workmanlike performance, but middleweights definitely won’t be queuing up to face the well-rounded Canadian.