UFC Fight Night 70: Machida vs Romero

Saturday, June 27th 10:00 p.m. ET
Hollywood, Florida

Former light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida, looks to get his way back into title contention when he faces Yoel Romero at UFC Fight Night 70.

Since joining the middleweight division five fights ago, Machida has had a mixed bag of results. He won his first two, actually getting Knockout of the Night in his bout with Mark Munoz to kick off his middleweight career, but has lost two of his last three; including failing to win at a chance to get the middleweight belt. Overall, two of his five fights at this weight division were named Fight of the Night and in December of last year, Machida was able to get a TKO (body kick and punches) in just over a minute against C.B. Dollaway. Unfortunately, he is coming off a poor showing against Luke Rockhold where he lost via submission (rear-naked choke) in the middle of the second round. The 37-year-old won the first 16 fights of his career, and the 15th earned him the light-heavyweight title as he was able to defend it just once. Romero is an Olympic silver medalist after competing in both the 2000 and 2004 summer games for his home country of Cuba. The now Miami resident has gone undefeated in his first five UFC fights since Strikeforce disbanded and has a knockout in four of those five victories. He actually has a knockout in 8-of-9 career fights, with each of his last three knockouts coming in the third round. His bout with Tim Kennedy in September earned Fight of the Night honors after Romero took him down with punches early on in the third round. His wrestling and knockout ability make him a threat to win at any given fight, and although he is 38-years-old, there doesnt look to be any slowing down for the Soldier of God.

Lyoto is a jack of all trades when it comes to his fighting style and he has used that to gain an advantage in significant strikes landed. Each minute, The Dragon is landing 2.62 significant strikes at a 53percent accuracy, and although his opponents are efficient when going against him at 63percent, he does not give them plenty of opportunities with 1.52 significant strikes landed against him. His last match was dominated by his opponent Luke Rockhold who had a 23-13 significant strike advantage and took Lyoto down once with two submission attempts against; one of which ended the fight. It will be interesting to see if that Lyoto comes out or if it is the one who landed 12 strikes compared to none against in his knockout win against Dollaway last December. He has not had a takedown in his last three matches, but overall is averaging 1.38 takedowns per 15 minutes in the octagon with his accuracy at 65percent. Luckily, he does not let others get him on the mat with a takedown defense of 76percent, but has been taken down six times in his last three times out. Submissions are also something that he was better known for during the early parts of his career, averaging 0.5 submission attempts per 15 minutes, but has not had one since late 2010. All of Lyotos stats seem to be trending downwards and his time at this level looks to be numbered.

Romero made his name as a World Champion and Olympic silver medalist freestyle wrestler, but has extended his legacy with an impressive showing in MMA. Hes gone the distance in a mere 1-of-10 fights between Strikeforce and UFC with eight of his nine wins coming by knockout. His innate ability at knocking his opponents out comes from a 3.49-2.04 advantage in significant strikes handed out. Those strikes have been handed out at a 54percent accuracy as his opposition is getting in just 33percent of their attempts against the Cuban-born fighter. Romero has no issues tiring out his opponents by putting them where he is most comfortable, the mat, and averages 2.4 takedowns per 15 minutes in the octagon while getting 10 in his past two fights. He does this more by volume than with precision as his accuracy is a meager 35percent while he defends against the takedown 71percent of the time. One part of his game that is absent is submissions as he has not attempted one since joining the UFC and that will not be something that Lyoto will see. If this goes the full five rounds, this fight could really go either way, but Romero will do everything in his power to end it with a knockout early.