Yoel Romero finished Lyoto Machida in the third round of their five round main event on Saturday night. The end came quickly and violently. As soon as Romero was able to get the fight to the ground, it was over. Some people want to blame the quick turnaround for Machida’s loss, but I think it was something else. The Karate expert looked noticeably slower in this bout. His counters weren’t as crisp and his striking didn’t seem as powerful. Romero was able to trade kicks with Machida, and not take much damage throughout the whole fight. After that first round, it seemed like Romero had Lyoto figured out. Romero was starting to find his range and landed cleaner shots in the second round, before finishing the fight in the third.
Most of the time, Machida lulls you into a false sense of security with his movements, and then knocks you out. That didn’t happen this time. Or in his last fight. Machida has now lost two in a row, and both losses were stoppages. The 37 year old is still a great fighter, but the door has closed on a title for him. With a style that relies on speed, lateral movement, and counter striking, it finally seems as though Father Time has caught up with Machida. It is certainly a sad thing to see. Lyoto proved that someone from a traditional martial arts background could be successful in MMA. He won the light heavyweight title, and got a shot at the middleweight title. His career has been nothing short of extraordinary, and he is most certainly a UFC Hall of Famer. But his days of winning titles are behind him. Those ended when Romero landed the first of those crushing elbows that snatched Machida’s consciousness from him.