Is Lyoto Machida still “The Dragon” or is he an aging former champion in the twilight of his career?
Despite losing to middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 175, he showed plenty of “Dragon.” But a humbling loss to Luke Rockhold in April renewed concerns he is slowing down.
Yoel Romero is a rising star who knows he has an opportunity to make a statement with an impressive win over a legend.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
HACRAN DIAS (22-3-1) VS LEVAN “THE HORNET” MAKASHVILLI (10-1-0)
Andrews: Dias has the experience factor, plus the 26-year-old Makashvilli is fighting on short notice. But if he performs like “The Hornet,” his work rate could frustrate the 31-year-old Dias. Still,Dias should be able to grind out another unanimous decision win.
Andrews Prediction: Hacran Dios vis unanimous decision.
THIAGO “MARRETA” SANTOS (10-3-0) vs STEVE “THE BOSS” BOSSE (10-1-0)
Andrews: Bosse is making his UFC debut and has his hands full with an experienced fighter in Santos, who’s fought some quality guys. Boss has a rash of knockout wins, but the threat of the KO should be neutralized by the experience of Santos.
Andrews Prediction: Thiago “Marreta” Santos via TKO.
ANTONIO “CARA DE SAPATO” CARLOS JUNIOR (5-1-0) VS EDDIE “TRUCK” GORDON (8-3-0)
Andrews: If ACJ performs like he should, it should be another tap for him. Gordon will not lay down for anybody, but his gas tank is one of the targets ACJ will lock on. Take the starch out, take it to the ground and work for the submission.
Andrews Prediction: Antonio “Cara de Sapato” Jr. via submission.
SANTIAGO “GENTE BOA” PONZINIBBIO (21-2-0) VS LORENZ “THE MONSOON” LARKIN (15-4-0, 1NC)
Andrews: This is a good test for Larkin, who is looking better at welterweight. The Gente Boa will test Larkin’s stamina and take the fight to the ground, where he has the best chance to win. I’m going with my gut feeling that that Larkin will catch Santiago before he can do that.
Andrews Prediction: Lorenz “The Monsoon” Larkin via TKO.
#4 LYOTO “THE DRAGON” MACHIDA (22-6-0) VS #6 “SOLDIER OF GOD” YOEL ROMERO (9-1-0)
Andrews: Machida is on the downside of his career, but has only lost to the top contenders of the division. Romero is an up-and-coming guy who has a lot of power but questionable gas tank. Machida should be able to use his distance and kicks to control the fight and wear the down The Soldier of God.
Andrews Prediction: Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida via unanimous decision.