may never see the lofty heights he was once predicted to
reach, but he has made himself a staple of the
Ultimate Fighting Championship

Team Alpha Male
mainstay will chase his first win in nearly two
years when he matches wits and fists with
Dana White’s Contender Series
graduate Joanderson
in a UFC
on ESPN 35
featherweight feature this Saturday at the UFC Apex
in Las Vegas. Fili enters the Octagon with a 9-7 promotional record
in tow. He last appeared at UFC Fight Night 190, where his June 26
pairing with Daniel
ended in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke in
the second round.

Ahead of Fili’s forthcoming confrontation with Brito at 145 pounds,
a look at some of the rivalries that have helped shape his career
to this point:

The future featherweight champion submitted Fili with a guillotine
choke in the third round of their UFC 172 showcase on April 26,
2014 at the Baltimore Arena. Holloway brought it to a close 3:39
into Round 1, handing the Team Alpha Male prospect his first loss
in more than three years. Fili mixed his punches and kicks with
well-timed takedowns. Holloway started to turn the corner in the
second round, where he cracked the Californian with a searing
spinning back kick to the body and some damaging knees from the
clinch. Fili struck for a takedown in the third round but failed to
maintain top position. Holloway returned to his feet, staggered his
adversary with a pair of standing elbows, followed up with a
multi-punch burst and then snatched the guillotine when the reeling
Fili left his neck exposed. Surrender soon became his only

Fili took the shin-to-skull path to victory when he wiped out “The
Ultimate Fighter Latin America” Season 1 semifinalist with a head
kick and follow-up punches in the first round of their featured UFC
Fight Night 78 prelim on Nov. 21, 2015 at the Monterrey Arena in
Monterrey, Mexico. Wrapped in the arms of referee John McCarthy,
Benitez wilted 3:13 into Round 1, his run of four consecutive wins
at an end. Fili weathered some serious kicks to the legs and body,
along with a few straight lefts upstairs. He staggered Benitez with
a head kick, followed it with a takedown and then reset once the

American Kickboxing Academy
representative returned to his
feet. Fili later backed him towards the cage, delivered another
head kick and finished it with a burst of rights and lefts.

“The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” winner knocked out Fili with
a flying switch kick in the second round of their UFC 197
featherweight attraction on April 23, 2016 at the MGM Grand Garden
Arena in Las Vegas. Fili met his end 2:15 into Round 2. The rapidly
improving Rodriguez controlled the first five minutes, as he
executed a takedown, passed guard and scored from the top. What
came next was utterly spectacular. Rodriguez backed the Californian
toward the fence, took flight and blasted him with a switch kick
upstairs. Shin met face, as Fili fell backward and hit the canvas
unconscious, the victim of a clear contender for “Knockout of the
Year.” It remains the only legitimate knockout loss on his

Fili leaned on a stout jab and surprising takedowns to escape with
a contentious split decision over “The Ultimate Fighter 14”
finalist in their UFC on Fox 27 co-main event on Jan. 27, 2018 at
the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Judges Pedro
Claudio and Derek Cleary scored it 29-28 for Fili, while Steve
Elliott saw it 30-27 for Bermudez. Fili hid his intentions with
stance switches, countered effectively in spurts and delivered
multiple takedowns in the first and second rounds. Even so,
Bermudez landed the cleaner, more damaging strikes. He chopped away
at Fili’s lower leg with kicks, doubled and tripled up on his jab
and scored well in the clinch. Bermudez fought with a sense of
urgency down the stretch, continuing to assault the Californian’s
lower extremities while pairing powerful right hooks with his jab.
He deposited Fili on the mat with a takedown of his own in the
waning moments, but it was not enough to rally a majority of the
judiciary to his cause.

Repeated takedowns, top control and positional advances carried
“The Ultimate Fighter 27” semifinalist to a unanimous decision over
Fili in their three-round UFC Fight Night 181 co-headliner on Oct.
31, 2020 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Mitchell swept the
scorecards with 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 marks from the cageside
judges. Fili made the Arkansas native work for every inch of ground
he gained. Mitchell executed takedowns in all three rounds,
achieved full mount on multiple occasions and threatened with a few
submissions, all while incorporating rough-around-the-edges but
effective standup. Fili was at his best in Round 2, where he
connected with a flying knee, utilized an effective jab and had
more success staying off of his back. However, he could not hold
off Mitchell forever. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt struck for
multiple takedowns in the third round and took the final steps
toward what was at the time his most significant victory to date.