Five Fights To Get You Excited For UFC Fight Night 70

This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 70. These fights represent some of the highest moments in the careers of their respective participants, and should serve to pique your interest heading into the event. 1. Lyoto Machida vs. Rich Franklin – Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 Upcoming Bout: Lyoto Machida vs. Yoel Romero

I think it’s safe to say we’re all pretty familiar with Lyoto Machida at this point, and that’s exactly why I went with the Franklin fight instead of something more recent. Back in 2003, Lyoto was Ryoto, we had no idea if he was actually Brazilian or Japanese, and he was some mysterious prospect when he knocked out the 14-0 Franklin. This win put him on the map, but it wasn’t until nearly 6 years later that he was able to translate this type of finishing ability over to the UFC. Now, his devastating one-strike ability is one of the things he’s most known for. Even though this fight was nearly 12 years ago, it shows that Machida has always had the ability to exploit fighters who try to close the distance on him with just one strike, and even with Romero’s speed, Machida will make him pay if he tries to get in close in the manner that Franklin did.

2. Yoel Romero vs. Clifford Starks – UFC on Fox 7 Upcoming Bout: Yoel Romero vs. Lyoto Machida

For all the things I just said about Machida, it simply may not matter. Yoel Romero is an absolute freak athlete whose body is capable of things that only a minuscule percentage of people can do. If Clifford Starks’ chin wasn’t in the way of his knee, Romero may have jumped right out of the cage in his UFC debut. He also throws hook kicks, spinning kicks, and all manner of unorthodox combinations. Did I mention he was an Olympic silver medalist as well… in wrestling. It’s a shame we weren’t able to see Romero transition to MMA earlier in life, as we’re only seeing what a Romero in his late thirties can accomplish and it’s still astounding. As for the matchup with Machida, there’s no doubt Romero is at a technical striking disadvantage, but as I said earlier, it just may not matter. Romero could throw some combination out of Tekken or Street Fighter and obliterate the former champion; or he might stand around for two rounds and get beaten before (literally) shitting his pants and breaking Derek Brunson’s chest cavity in half; or nearly get knocked out by Tim Kennedy, chill out on his stool for half an hour, then destroy Kennedy within seconds of the next round starting. And that’s why Yoel Romero is appointment viewing.

3. Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Wendell Oliveira – UFC Fight Night 51 Upcoming Bout: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Lorenz Larkin

As talented as Lorenz Larkin is, he’s not a very consistent fighter. That’s why pairing him up with Ponzinibbio was an excellent idea by Joe Silva. The Argentine will get in Larkin’s face, and that means one of two things is likely to happen. Either Larkin will answer back with strikes and we probably get a nice little firefight like Ponzinibbio had here with Oliveira, or Larkin goes into a shell and Ponzinibbio is able to either outwork him easily or find a way to stop Larkin. Regardless of which way the fight goes, we’ll get some questions answered about Larkin at 170, and Ponzinibbio will either pick up another win or have another fun fight on his resume.

4. Leandro Silva vs. Gilson Lomanto – MMA Super Heroes 5 Upcoming Bout: Leandro Silva vs. Lewis Gonzalez

We haven’t seen much of Leandro Silva’s striking in the UFC, and even in his time on the regional circuit he’s only scored this TKO finish. I expect that if he has success against Lewis Gonzalez, striking will be a big part of his game though, as that is where he holds the most definitive edge in this contest. The concern with Silva continues to be his output, as he was completely passive in his UFC debut against Ildemar Alcantara and we’ve seen that show up in other bouts as well. As long as he can keep the volume up, he has the tools to win this fight.

5. Tony Sims vs. Drew Dober – Fight To Win: Machines Upcoming Bout: Tony Sims vs. Steve Montgomery

Tony Sims is in an interesting spot here. Most analysts agree that he’s the more well-rounded fighter heading into his UFC debut against Steve Montgomery, but he’s heading up to welterweight for the bout. Normally Sims is quite a large lightweight, so he won’t be too undersized at 170, but he is used to being the bigger, stronger fighter in his bouts. The strength remains to be seen, as Montgomery is very thin to make 170 with his 6’4 frame, but Sims will definitely be at a significant reach disadvantage. How he deals with that will be key, as he has the power and the wrestling to give a lot of fighters trouble in the UFC. As long as he can navigate Montgomery’s long limbs enough to find his range, Sims could make a big splash.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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