Nine months ago, Yoel Romero was enjoying some fine wine on top of a stool. The former Olympian took his dear ole’ time returning to action before knocking out Tim Kennedy in their middleweight clash at UFC 178.

Just a hair over two months ago, Lyoto Machida has getting battered and beat to a pulp by Luke Rockhold at UFC on FOX 15 in Newark, N.J.

The two will now meet in the main event on July 27, 2015, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. While the remainder of the UFC Fight Night 70 card has been shifted and altered due to traveling restrictions and visa issues, Machida and Romero will nonetheless meet for a five round scrap that will answer several questions for the UFC and fans alike.

Several questions flood the scene, but none more popular than the questions about Machida’s shelf life. How much does the former UFC light heavyweight champion have left? Has the “Machida Era” come and gone? Where does Machida go from here? Is another star fading towards retirement?

For Romero, many questions remain unanswered as well. Will he be served another glass of Moscato between rounds? How will he respond against his toughest test to date? Will he be prepared for the Machida’s Southpaw and Shotokan Karate approach? Fortunately, all of these questions will be answered on fight night and we’ll all be able to move on with our lives.

 

5 Dimes BetDSI BookMaker Bovada SportBet
Lyoto Machida -170 -175 -175 -175 -167
Yoel Romero +150 +150 +150 +145 +153

 

Considering how badly Machida was beaten in his most recent showing, and his quick turnaround, it’s understandable that some are puzzled at the oddsmakers decision to list him as the favorite. However, Machida’s unorthodox approach and counter striking is likely the shift in the odds.

Enough about the potentials, let’s breakdown our middleweight showdown between Machida and Romero.

Striking

Don’t let the numbers fool you. At first glance, one might think Romero is the superior striker as eight of his nine wins have come by way of knockout. Without discrediting his improvement on the feet, a majority of Romero’s success has come on the ground following takedowns. There’s no denying Romero’s vicious ground-and-pound could cause some serious problems for Machida, especially if he follows Rockhold’s blueprint.

But as a whole, Machida is the more concise striker as his ability to counter strike is second to none in the middleweight division. Romero’s aggressive approach could actually be his Achilles’s heel in his fight if he doesn’t approach with caution. When Machida is at his best, his combination of strikes and kicks are burdensome to match.

Jon jones vs. Lyoto Machida UFC 140-9

It’s worth noting that Machida will also have a three inch height advantage heading into this contest. He’s never lost to a shorter fighter. Ultimately, Romero’s best bet will be to take this one to the ground and avoid exchanging in the standup.

Advantage: Machida

Wrestling/Grappling

At one point in his career, Machida was one of the toughest guys to take to the ground.

Times have changed and Machida has aged, making him more susceptible to the takedown. It’s not a matter of if, but rather a matter of when Romero will look to enter in on a single or double leg takedown.

Rockhold battered Machida up before transitioning to the ground, which may be more rigorous for Romero to accomplish. The former Olympian also needs to be cautious as Machida’s counter attack will be present and waiting for a Romero slip up.

If Romero can take the fight to the ground, Machida will have a difficult time transitioning off his back. Machida is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but hasn’t shown he’s a true threat to submit an opponent from his back. If Romero establishes top control, Machida may have find himself in a world of trouble.

Advantage: Romero

Submissions

If all goes as planned, one of two scenarios will play out when Machida and Romero meet. The first, Machida will fight off the takedowns and attempt to pick Romero apart on his feet. The second, Romero capitalizes on the takedown and puts Machida in an extremely unwanted position.

The chances of a submission occurring in this fight isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but it’s also not likely. In 38 combined professional fights, Machida and Romero have combined for just two submission victories. Even still, one has to think if Romero slips up in the guard or even in the clinch, Machida wouldn’t hesitate to capitalize on the opportunity.

For that reason alone, Romero will have to respect Machida’s submission game.

Advantage: Machida

The Verdict

When push comes to shove, the X-factor in this fight will be the five rounds that comes with the territory of taking part in a main event. Machida has proved he can last into the championship rounds as shown in his exchange with Chris Weidman at UFC 175. “The Dragon” also went the distance against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at his best and again with Gegard Mousasi in a ‘Fight of the Night’ performance in Brazil in February of last year.

(Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Romero’s conditioning has yet to be put to the full test, while Machida has displayed he improves as the fight progresses. While only two months removed from arguably the most crushing defeat of his career, a motivated Machida is dangerous for any middleweight across the board.

Even still, it appears as if Machida’s best days are behind him. While Romero’s sloppy striking may cost him at times, Machida is clearly losing the edge he once possessed. I foresee Romero taking the fight to the ground and establishing dominant ground-and-pound early on in the fight. The question is, can Machida overcome it? And, does he have enough left in the tank to knock off one of the division’s most promising prospects? I believe he does, but time will tell. Don’t be surprised if Machida drops the opening rounds and then starts to establish control because of his cardio.

Prediction: Machida by TKO, Round 3

Stay tuned for the latest news and updates revolving around UFC Fight Night 70.