Philippou said he completely understood why the fans didn't like what they saw.
"It wasn't my best performance," Philippou said. "I'm happy I got the win, but the fight wasn't that good."
There were a few brief flurries of action, especially early in the second round, when Philippou knocked Rivera down with a hard punch, pounced on him and rained punches down. It looked for a moment like the referee was about to step in and stop the fight, but Rivera did a great job of recovering and tying Philippou up, and soon it was Rivera who was landing punches on the ground.
Late in the second Rivera pulled off a great trip-takedown, but Philippou nearly pulled off an omoplata from his back: Philippou locked up Rivera's shoulder, but he wasn't able to finish it.
Those sequences in the second round were just about the only action, however. Early in the third round there was a quick exchange of punches, but soon both Rivera and Philippou began to look exhausted, and for most of the rest of the round they were tied up on the ground without a whole lot of action, and the fans were booing at the final horn.
Two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Philippou, while one scored it 29-28 for Rivera.
The win improved Philippou's career record to 8-2, and ensured that he'll remain in the UFC. The 39-year-old Rivera, however, has lost two in a row and hasn't looked good this year. He may be just about done inside the Octagon.
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