Hoopa Valley

Orion Cosce loses to Philip Rowe in UFC debut


Orion Cosce in action on Saturday.

Humboldt County’s Orion Cosce suffered his first defeat as a professional MMA fighter on Saturday afternoon, losing to Philip Rowe on a second-round TKO.

Cosce, who turned pro in 2018 and came into the fight with a record of 7-0, was making his UFC debut on the preliminary card of the big fight night featuring Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland.

Rowe, however, took control of the fight in the second round, ending the contest at the 4:21 mark and improving to 8-3 as a pro fighter.

It was his first MMA win in two years and his first in the UFC.

The fight was Cosce’s first in almost a year, since he earned a UFC contract with a victory over Matt Dixon in August of 2020.

After a quiet opening round, the fight exploded in the second, with Rowe throwing a flurry of big punches and knees to Cosce’s face and quickly taking control of the contest.

The Humboldt county native, however, was able to withstand the onslaught and bought himself some time after forcing Rowe up against the fence.

But the 31-year Rowe, who goes by the nickname “The Fresh Prince,” began to dominate again moments later and ended the fight with a big right hand that knocked Cosce to the floor.

Cosce, who fights out of the Lost Boys gym in Arcata, was originally slated to make his UFC debut in November of last year, but was forced to pull out of the contest at the last minute because of injury.

He was expected to be out for up to two years, but made a far-quicker-than-anticipated recovery to return to the cage within eight months and came into the fight in his best shape ever, he said.

“Cosce is tough,” is how one of the commentators described him.

He was certainly tough to bring down on Saturday.

The 27-year-old former Hoopa High wrestler will likely regroup now, but will be expected to learn from the experience and come back stronger than ever.

His younger brother Louis, who also fights in the UFC, was in Orion’s corner for Saturday’s big fight and is expected back in the cage himself before the end of the year.

Louis made his UFC debut last November, suffering his first loss as a pro.

Both brothers earned their UFC contracts with victories at the Dana White Contender Series last August.

Both are now 7-1 in the pro ranks.

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