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UFC 173: Sam Sicilia Vs. Aaron Phillips

ufc 173

Sam Sicilia vs. Aaron Phillips

Featherweights are in action next, as Sam Sicilia battles Aaron Phillips.

Sicilia (12-4) is just 1-3 in his last four, including a January submission loss to Cole Miller. The alum of The Ultimate Fighter – which will be a common theme on the prelims – was 11-1 to start his MMA career.

Phillips (5-0) is replacing Doo Ho Choi, who pulled out due to an injury. He has scored three knockout victories in his MMA career and his making his Octagon debut.

Round 1: Phillips had a smile you couldn’t knock off his face all the way into the cage. He’s a former teacher of taekwondo and is throwing some sound kicks to start. As Sicilia tries to land a big shot, Phillips moves away and gives him a grin. Phillips has got just a huge smile on his face as he is fighting, and even tries to throw an Anthony Pettis kick off the cage. Two straight kicks to the body and Sicilia is hurting and retreating. Sicilia catches him against the fence and is unloading with dirty boxing. Sicilia gets top position and starts teeing off, but Phillips is able to get to his feet and stop the damage. Spinning back kick from Phillips goes over the head, but was executed smoothly. With his wavy black hair and stance, Phillips looks like a young Lyoto Machida. Overhand right from Sicilia lands, but Phillips with a shot to the body that doubles him over. Phillips pulls guard with under a minute to go. The move to pull guard and release the submission might have cost Phillips the round, though he closes with a series of upkicks.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Sicilia

Round 2: Sicilia comes firing out and lands a left that drops Phillips and he is on top with plenty of time to work. Phillips sees and opening and goes for an armbar, but winds up on top. He goes for a crucifix and gets reversed, as Sicilia takes the back and has a rear-naked choke. Phillips takes control, briefly in full-mount before getting reverses again himself as we go under two minutes. Both fighters have squandered chances to take control of the bout. Phillips being very active from his back, trying for another armbar. Sicilia gets a hook in and is getting his neck and chin cranked hard. He rolls, but is now caught up against the fence and winds up on his back.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Sicilia

Round 3: I’ve got it 2-0 for Sicilia, but it could easily be tied up heading into the third and final five minutes of action. The corner of Phillips agrees with my scoring, telling him he is down both rounds and needs a finish. Sicilia catches a kick and pushes Phillips over and to the canvas. He’s got a potential armbar, but appears to be too tired to secure it and Sicilia moves easily into side control. Sicilia postures up and hammers him with lefts and rights, dropping back down to side control as we head under three minutes. More offense from Sicilia and Phillips is in trouble in regards to this round and scoring.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Sicilia

Sam Sicilia def. Aaron Phillips via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)