UFC 155: December 29, 2012 Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Middleweight Contender Costa Philippou (-130) Profile: Following an unsuccessful attempt at making a team on The Ultimate Fighter 11, Constantinos “Costa” Philippou (11-2) was still able to make it to the UFC as a late replacement to fight Nick Catone at UFC 128. Although he lost his promotional debut via unanimous decision, the Greek Serra BJJ-trained fighter has gone on to win his last four UFC fights in a row, beating vet Jorge Rivera, TUF 11 winner Court McGee and Ricki Fukuda. At 32 years of age and only four years of pro experience behind him, Philippou simply needs to keep taking advantage of his opportunities and win consistently to stay in the UFC over the long haul. UFC Middleweight Contender Tim Boetsch (+100) Profile: Tim Boetsch (16-4) is in his second stint in the UFC and has been much more successful than the first, posting a 5-1 mark, including 4-0 at middleweight. The 31-year-old made his UFC debut at UFC 81 back in 2008 and beat David Heath via first-round TKO but lost two of his next three fights. He then bounced around three different organizations for his next three bouts before returning to the UFC in 2010, when he defeated Todd Brown by unanimous decision at UFC 117 at light heavyweight. “The Barbarian” proceeded to lose to Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis via submission at UFC 123 before moving down to middleweight. He won his first two UFC fights at middleweight by unanimous decision against Kendall Grove at UFC 130 and Nick Ring at UFC 135 before knocking out Yushin Okami at UFC 144 and following that up with a controversial split-decision victory against Hector Lombard at UFC 149. Opening UFC 155 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Philippou a slight -130 favorite (bet $130 to win $100) while Boetsch opened as a +100 underdog (bet $100 to win $100) according to the MMA odds. Philippou has enjoyed a fast rise over the past year to finally crack the Top 15 UFC middleweight rankings and will face his toughest challenge yet against Boetsch. Chris Weidman was originally scheduled to fight Boetsch at UFC 155, but a shoulder injury and subsequent surgery has sidelined the man many consider to be the top contender for champion Anderson Silva’s belt. Enter Philippou, who was slated to meet Nick Ring at UFC 154 and rides a four-fight winning streak into the Octagon. While he has not beaten any top contenders during that stretch, he has earned a lot of praise for his hard work and determination after failing to make the cast of TUF 11. Meanwhile, Boetsch has also won four in a row against tougher competition and believes he is next in line for a title shot after beating Lombard. His matchup with Weidman was supposed to clear up the pecking order a bit, but now others like Michael Bisping have entered the mix. Boetsch is a grinder who will make Philippou work harder than he ever has before, although he would love nothing more than to finish him and show the UFC he is the true No. 1 contender.