UFC Norfolk: Kyler Phillips Believes It’s the Beginning of the “Matrix Era”


Norfolk, VA — Welcome to the UFC, Kyler Phillips.

Phillips, an Ultimate Fighter alum who came up short on TUF 27, made his debut at UFC Norfolk this past weekend. In the featured prelim slot, Phillips earned himself a one-sided unanimous decision win over Gabriel Silva. The bantamweight known as “Matrix” also earned Fight of the Night honors for his efforts.

Phillips reflected on his promotional debut with media outlets including Cageside Press post-fight at the Chartway Arena.

“That was a little bit of the Matrix, I don’t want to say it was all me. I just put a little bit of me out there. You guys saw a little bit of me, and there’s a lot more left. That’s just the beginning of the Matrix Era,” said Phillips, who is expecting to skyrocket with his team to the top of the division. “We’re super-balanced in what we do. We’re very on-the-fly. I’m going to win a fight. If I’m losing any type of battle, I’m going to take it in a different direction.”

That balanced, on-the-fly approach was on display during the fight Saturday night.

“I was hitting him with a lot of strikes in the first round. But I expected him to have a hard chin and be tough.” Phillips wasn’t sure if Silva had ever been dropped, but he knew the Brazilian would be able to take some shots. “I knew he was hurt, but the more I tried to wail on him, he would cover good. That’s when I would get a little tired.”

And so he switched up the game plan. “That second and third round, I had to grind out a grappling match. That consisted of a lot of ground n’ pound, but also I switched up, was smacking him open-hand, hit him with elbows, I had to switch up to the body because he was doing a good job covering his head. Like you guys saw, too, it was a grappling match also. He went inverted a couple times, like it was an IBJJF jiu-jitsu match. I was like ‘damn that’s pretty sick.'”

Phillips even found himself defending a knee-bar, but he was not going to be denied, and turned the fight into a wrestling match. In the end, he went the distance, earning 30-27s on all three scorecards.

It was a great start to his UFC tenure. A start that was supposed to come last year, against Ray Borg. In the end, he drew Silva, who actually wound up fighting Borg, in an interesting coincidence. Meant to be, perhaps. “I do believe that things work out for a reason like that,” Phillips later stated.

Octagon jitters are often brought up with debuting fighters. But then, Phillips had his TUF run. However, it wasn’t the jitters he feels the show helped with. “I don’t think The Ultimate Figher helped with any jitters,” he said. “But as far the cameras, and as far as the whole set part, it [did] for sure.”

However, when it comes down to fighting inside the cage, he added, “as soon as that cage shuts, it don’t matter if it’s just me shadow-boxing, moving around with my partner, or two of us in the gym sparring, or if there’s 10,000 people. It’s still the same thing. The thing I’m doing is trying to get better, and doing what I love. And I love this.”

Watch the full UFC Norfolk post-fight press scrum with Kyler Phillips above!


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