Last we saw former UFC light heavyweight champion and middleweight challenger Lyoto Machida, he was flattened out on the mat tapping out to a Luke Rockhold choke. Even if you recognized the skill of Rockhold, it wasn’t exactly a sight that many expected. Most, frankly, expected a war, and when Lyoto walked out to the octagon, it was the former champion who got the bigger crowd response.

Then Machida was beat up in the first. Coming out in the second, he was a man dead on his feet. A zombie. It showed. The fight might have been finished in the second, but it was over in the first.

That loss likely took Lyoto Machida out of title contention for the foreseeable future. Having already lost to Chris Weidman, as well as the man next in line for a title shot, Rockhold, there’s not much of a case to be made for giving him a crack at the belt any time soon.

That said, “The Dragon” is a valuable name for the promotion; a former champ, a marketable name, and still a popular fighter. As a result, with a couple of wins, he could be back in the picture sometime next year. Does he have one last shot in him?

If he does, he’ll need to prove it against Yoel Romero at UFC Fight Night 70 on June 27. Whatever you think of Romero’s last outing against Tim Kennedy, the former Olympic silver medalist is undefeated in the UFC, and a tough out for anyone.

Here are the keys to victory for Machida come Saturday.

Be Elusive

Machida has been dogged throughout his career for his tendency to disengage quickly. He’s simply not a stand and bang guy. However, against the beast that is Yoel Romero, that’s probably for the best. Machida’s elusive style may help him here — if he can do enough to convince the judges, should it get to that point.

Utilize That Creative Striking

Though best known as a wrestler, Romero does have eight of nine wins on his pro record by either KO or TKO. In short, he uses his wrestling to dominate and set up knockouts, ground and pound or otherwise. That said, Machida still gets the nod as the better, more creative striker — and he’ll need to use that talent to its full extent to score the victory over the Cuban Romero.

Go The Distance

Questions about Romero’s cardio inevitably arise with a single glance at his physique, and he has shown signs of fading in past fights. Having never gone five rounds, should Machida be unable to finish Romero, going the distance and wearing him down might just be the biggest key to victory at UFC Fight Night 70.

This is a classic striker vs. wrestler bout, as well as being a case of a fighter on the rise (Romero) meeting a fighter arguably on the decline (Machida). However, The Dragon has the opportunity to hold on to his spot in the division with a convincing win Saturday night.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.