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UFC Fight Night 70 results: Yoel Romero scores vicious finish of Lyoto Machida

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

In the UFC's smaller-sized cage, Lyoto Machida didn't have his usual room to maneuver.

And that was bad news for the former UFC light heavyweight champion on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 70.

Yoel Romero took a round or so to figure out his range, picked up the pace, and finished Machida in their main-event fight in Hollywood, Florida. A takedown followed by a huge and vicious series of elbows led to the finish at 1:38 of the third round.

The victory was Romero's sixth in a row, five of which have come by way of a finish.

In the opening round, Romero appeared intent on not running into one of Machida's patented counterstrikes. In the second, Romero appeared to gain confidence, and began to land frequently. He even attempted an Anthony Pettis-like Showtime leap off the cage as time expired in the round.

Many questioned whether Machida should should have returned so soon after taking a beating from Luke Rockhold in an April loss, and those questions seemed justified when Romero finished the fight. A takedown led to a dizzying array of elbows, leading John McCarthy to stop the fight.

The victory put Romero square into the title picture at 185 pounds.

"I have great respect for Lyoto Machida," Romero said. "This was the type of fight I expected."

Machida (22-7) has now dropped three out of his past four.

In the co-feature bout, Lorenz Larkin once again looked like a killer at welterweight, as he went 2-0 with two finished since dropping to 170 pounds after a vicious finish of Santiago Ponzinibbio.

Larkin (16-4, 1 no-contest) was on point in the opening round, using a speed and reach advantage to pepper his foe with nasty leg kicks and keep Ponzinibbio from figuring out his range.

In the second, Ponzinibbio (20-3) went for broke, rushed in, and turned the bout into a slugfest. And while it made for exciting exchanges, it didn't take long for Larkin to turn the fight in his favor for good. A huge left hook to the jaw, followed by a right which also landed flush on the jaw, put Ponzinibbio on the mat. Larkin continued to lay on the heavy hands to his dazed foe before referee Herb Dean finally stopped it at 3:07.

"He brought it, I had to bring it," Larkin said. "It was an exciting fight for the fans. I'm a fighter, and I love to do this. I've got to keep fighting people UFC put in front of me and keep putting on exciting fights. I'm just starting to believe in myself. I feel strong, in the cage and I feel strong with my punches."

A battle of former TUF winners was a complete mismatch. Looking to be a full weight class bigger than his opponent, TUF: Brazil 3 winner Antonio Carlos Junior (6-1) had his way with TUF 19 winner Eddie Gordon (7-4) in a middleweight bout.

Carlos Junior, who has fought as high as heavyweight in his career, bullied Gordon for the better part of 14 minutes, then finished him with 27 seconds left in the fight. The rear-naked choke submission was the third latest in a three-round fight in UFC history.

"I felt he was tired in the second round he wasn't reacting as he should, I knew his hands were strong," Carlos Junior said. "I trained exactly that in the gym and I'm happy it played out perfectly. I'm looking forward to fight again. I'm in a good phase, a new city, new team so I'm very happy. Now I go back to Brazil to celebrate and then get back to training."

Gordon has now lost three in a row since winning TUF 19 last summer.

In a middleweight bout, Thiago Santos woke up the crowd with one of the nastiest head-kick knockouts you'll ever see. Santos drilled Steve Bosse with a shin that landed flush on the jaw for the knockout in just 29 seconds.

Bosse (10-2), a former minor league hockey enforcer who was making his UFC debut after being pulled from a UFC 186 fight with Fabio Maldonado, landed in a jarring manner, going out cold with his head angled toward his shoulder. He later left the cage under his own power.

Santos (11-3) was won three out of his past four fights. All three wins in that stretch were first round KO/TKOs.

"I worked really hard and trained hard," Santos said. "I spent a lot of time away from my family. I'm very happy with this win. I saw that he dropped his guard and knew he was going to do it again, so I kicked him in the head and it worked."

In the featherweight main-card opener, featherweight Hacran Dias got the best of late replacement Levan Makashvili, earning a split decision against his game opponent. Dias outgrappled Makashvili (7-2) and sunk in a tight triangle in the second round. That wasn't quite enough to get a submission, but he did get the better end of two out of three 29-28 cards to earn the win.

The 31-year-old Dias (23-3-1) has now won two in a row, building on his December upset of Darren Elkins.

"I want to apologize to my fans, because I don't like to do this grappling game," Dias said. "I wanted to put on a show. I`m happy to leave as the winner tonight though."

In the top prelim fight, welterweights Alex Oliveira (12-2-1, 1 NC) and Joe Merrit (6-1) put on a spirited, if not technical proficient, show as they went the distance. In the end, Oliveira, who got several tight submission attempts over the course of the fight, got the best of things, earning a unanimous decision over his less-experienced foe and improving to 2-1 in the UFC.

"I took this fight with one week's notice and he is a tough opponent," Oliveira said. "I tried to do my best, but this is not my best. He punched me hard but this is part of the game. I just want to thank UFC. Now, all I want is to rest, but when the UFC calls me again, I'll be ready."

The card was originally scheduled to be held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and feature the lightweight and bantamweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. But the bout was moved to Florida on May 15. Then visa problems which affected several fighters caused the TUF Finale bouts to be rescheduled for UFC 190 in Brazil on Aug. 1.

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