Yoel Romero is some kind of athlete. That's mentioned a lot when it comes to him, but he showed off the insane athleticism in his UFC Fight Night 70 main event bout against Lyoto Machida tonight. He's also showed some scary, scary power in finishing a former light heavyweight champion. And he didn't just finish - he knocked Machida clean out with some absolutely brutal elbows.
After two very fun rounds of technical striking from both men, Romero finally went for a real takedown and got it. And within five seconds, Machida was unconscious. I can't remember the last time I saw something like that. Before that though, Romero tried some crazy stuff - a flying knee attempt that looked like he could jump right out of the octagon, and some crazy spinning attack off the cage that somehow turned into a takedown attempt right at the end of the second. He's nuts. And it's so much fun to watch.
The win was absolutely huge for Romero, and crushing for Machida. It effectively derails any chance of Machida getting another title shot, and puts Romero right into the conversation for the next title shot after Luke Rockhold takes on Chris Weidman. Just the idea of Yoel Romero vs. Jacare Souza brings a big, goofy smile to my face. That would be such an awesome fight.
On another note before we move onto the rest of the fights, I really liked the nine-fight card. Everything moved along fairly well and I don't feel like I've been chained to my computer for nine hours. Rally for less fights on cards!
- Herb Dean doesn't mess up much, but when he does, they're usually crazy. Lorenz Larkin and Santiago Ponzinibbio put on a great fight for a round and a half, with both using a wide variety of strikes to inflict damage. Larkin absolutely battered Ponzinibbio's leg before catching him with a left/right combo that dropped him midway through the second. But then Ponzinibbio's chin actually worked against him - Larkin landed like 20 straight hard shots against the cage, but Dean didn't see fit to step in. Ponzinibbio showed a lot of heart trying to get to his feet, but he wasn't defending the shots and it should have been stopped long before it actually was. For shame, Herb. For shame.
- Larkin looked awesome though, and he might actually be a factor at 170 if he can keep his fights on the feet. That's easier said than done though.
- Antonio Carlos Junior looked absolutely monstrous at middleweight. He said he walks around at 211 or 212, but he looked a weight class bigger than Gordon in the cage. He could eventually do pretty well as a 185er if his striking comes along. And Shoeface is a great nickname. So is Carl's Jr.
- It looks like Eddie Gordon will go down as one of the worst TUF winners ever. He has lost all three of his fights since he won TUF and got finished in two of them. Not good.
- Holy hell did Thiago Santos ever club Steve Bosse with that head kick. That might be the KO of the year so far. Bosse got absolutely destroyed by that shot, which was all shin right to the dome. Yikes.
- Hacran Dias and Levan Makashvili put on a dreadfully boring fight. At least half of it was spent against the cage, grinding away with nothing much happening. Dias did go for some interesting submissions in the second, which was the only decisive round in the fight. The first and third were tossups, and Dias took the decision. I hope I never have to watch that again, though it did look afterwards like Dias injured himself in the bout.
- Alex Oliveira had a harder time with Joe Merritt than a lot of people thought. Oliveira was fighting at welterweight so he was probably out-muscled by Merritt in the cage, but Merritt showed that he belongs in the octagon. He's a good athlete and could be decent with some more experience.
- Leandro Silva is sloppy. I don't know if it was just because he didn't think Lewis Gonzalez could do anything to him, but he was just giving up position and screwing up submission attempts left and right. He still got the win, but it wasn't a very impressive performance at all in my eyes.
- Man, Tony Sims hits hard. He was fighting a weight class up from his natural one and he still devastated the Creepy Weasel, Steve Montgomery, with a left hook. The follow-up shot put the weasel face-down, out cold. I think he knocked his mullet backwards too. Very impressive performance.
- Sirwan Kakai looked good in his UFC debut, hurting Danny Martinez in the first round and using a good wrestling came to keep the pressure fighter off of him. Martinez has now lost three in a row and is probably gone.