After an initial misstep against Vitor Belfort in his first UFC fight, former Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold is in a groove.
He’s dismantled his last three opponents in impressive fashion and now gets an opportunity to tame Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida tonight in New Jersey.
Machida continues roll, despite losing to currently injured champion Chris Weidman one of the best fights of 2014 and quickly stopping CB Dollaway.
It’s an old-fashioned who-will-reign-supreme title eliminator.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main event matchups.
#8 FELICE “LIL BULLDOG” HERRIG (10-5-0) VS #12 PAIGE VAN ZANT (4-1-0)
Andrews: One of the more popular matchups on the main card. Herrig is the more experienced fighter and on paper should win, but there is something about VanZant. She is young and confident. I also remember how Randa Markos outsmarted Herrig on TUF 20 and I think VanZant has the smarts to do the same.
Andrews Prediction: Paige VanZant via TKO.
#5 CUB SWANSON (21-6-0) VS #9 MAX “BLESSED” HOLLOWAY (12-3-0)
Andrews: This is a barnburner of a fight. The power of an improved Cub Swanson, still smarting from that Frankie Edgar lesson against a surging precision striker in Holloway. My brain says Swanson, but my heart says Holloway, who will take a beating, but find a way to eke out the upset.
Andrews Prediction: Max “Blessed” Holloway via split-decision.
#2 RONALDO “JACARE” SOUZA (21-3-0, 1NC) VS CHRIS CAMOZZI (19-9-0)
Andrews: Props to Camozzi for taking this rematch on short notice. It’s ironic he lost to Souza by submission the first time on the card of Rockhold’s first UFC fight. Unfortunately, it’s a bad time now for anyone to be fighting Souza. He gets another submission win here.
Andrews Prediction: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza via submission.
#2 LYOTO “THE DRAGON” MACHIDA VS #3 LUKE ROCKHOLD
Andrews: The always elusive Machida vs the more aggressive Rockhold. Machida has been looking good, but this is a tough one to call. Both will be cautious, as Rockhold does not get to get caught again. Yet, he needs to believe in his skills and risk going out on his shield or Machida will steal rounds. If Rockhold can grab the early rounds and force Machida to pay catchup, he has a good chance to win. My money is on Machida. He’s been in this position before and experience makes all the difference in this battle of equals.’
Andrews Prediction: Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida via unanimous decision.