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UFC Fight Night 70 predictions

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David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC returns to Florida with a card hampered by visa issues, but with a crown jewel of a middleweight main event between two older fighters who need a big win to stay relevant among top contenders. The card also has a variety of veterans from the U.S. and Brazilan 'The Ultimate Fighter' series as well as a few prospects of varying upside.

What: UFC Fight Night 70 (UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Romero)

Where: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida

When: Saturday, the four-fight preliminary card kicks off on Fox Sports 2 at 8 p.m. and the five-fight main card begins at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1

Lyoto Machida vs. Yoel Romero

Like many of you, I've struggled with this pick. If this were a few years ago, I wouldn't, but I don't know what to make of today's Machida. Yes, he feasts of wrestlers and maybe he'll do that this time as well. But he looked like a shell of himself in the Luke Rockhold fight. He didn't have balance or the ability to scramble or do much of anything, really. Perhaps age is finally catching up to him or perhaps it was an aberrant performance. Whatever it was, it's hard to overlook. You combine that with the small cage being used in tonight's contest - a clear advantage for Romero - and you wonder if that's enough for Romero to smother en route to a decision win.

Pick: Romero

Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Lorenz Larkin

We didn't get a long look at the welterweight debut of Larkin, but what we saw looked hugely impressive. His already fleet of foot movement seemed somehow better, his power was all still there and everything about his offense just seemed to come together. The Argentine is a very talented prospect, but he's going to have a hard time getting Larkin to the ground and as long as the fight is distance, it's Larkin's to lose.

Pick: Larkin

Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Eddie Gordon

I'm tempted to pick Gordon because of his wrestling edge. Junior has a ton of skills, but has shown to susceptible to guys with strong top control. This fight is very, very close. That said, Junior's guard is phenomenal and should be enough to disrupt Gordon's top passing or ground and pound. And if he's been diligent, it should be enough to create separation and stand. It'll also be interesting to see how the new weight class feels for the Brazilian. This pick is admittedly a gamble, but one worth making.

Pick: Junior

Thiago Santos vs. Steve Bosse

This one is fairly straightforward. If Bosse can get this fight in close and make it a contest at boxing range, he can light Santos up. If, by contrast, Santos has stay on his horse and make the contest one at kicking range, he'll chew the Canadian to pieces. All things being equal, I like Santos' chances a bit better.

Pick: Santos

Hacran Dias vs. Levan Makashvili

What happens when two wrestlers meet in the Octagon? Either a (sometimes bad) striking battle or the more dominant wrestler takes over. In this case, that should be Dias. His pressure on leg attacks is unrelenting, his athleticism is slightly better and he has a wider arsenal of takedowns from which to pick. That should be enough to secure a grinding if slightly unmotivating decision.

Pick: Dias

From the preliminary card:

Alex Oliveira def. Joe Merritt
Leandro Silva def. Lewis Gonzalez
Steve Montgomery def. Tony Sims
Danny Martinez def. Sirwan Kakai