Last night at the UFC 189 event in Florida, middleweight Yoel Romero took out former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in emphatic fashion. For the first two rounds, Machida was able to keep Romero at bay with strikes, and he seemed to get the best of the Cuban fighter for the first two rounds. At the start of the third round, things started out with more of the same as Machida landed kicks while Romero continued to look for an opening against Machida.
The Romero exploded for a quick clinch and takedown where he fluidly evaded the guard and landed in side control. From there, the brutality of the six to eight elbows that followed was enough to put Machida out cold. And just like that, Romero, who has made a habit of finishing fights in the third round, had the biggest win of his career.
Despite being 38, Romero is a physical specimen who simply overwhelmed Machida late in the fight with an impressive explosiveness. In light of all that is going on in MMA the next few weeks will hopefully see Romero’s tests come back negative, because the UFC has themselves another contender at 185 lbs.
The UFC has not given the next middleweight title fight a date yet, but it does appear as if champion Chris Weidman will face Luke Rockhold for his next challenge. This leaves Romero waiting until probably 2016, as that match will likely occur in the September to October time frame. Rockhold bypassed Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, a fighter with a better recent resume, to get the title fight.
The UFC has had a bout between Romero and Souza on the books several times over the past year, but the match has been postponed and cancelled every time. With this win over Machida, Romero has now moved himself to about even for the number one contender spot.
The UFC should rebook the Romero versus Souza fight and place it on the same card as Rockhold versus Weidman. Putting the top four middleweights in the world on the same card would also leave the winner of Souza-Romero on the same schedule as the titleholder for the February timeframe.
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