Two surging middleweights have been booked for what shapes up as a pivotal clash at UFC 178. Yoel Romero and Tim Kennedy will look to continue their push towards a future title shot when they collide in Las Vegas on Sept. 27. Both men have impressed in their respective Octagon tenures and are known for their wrestling skills and formidable strength.
Romero has gone a perfect 4-0 in the UFC with three of those victories having been produced by brutal finishes. The “Soldier of God” has a stellar wrestling background, having won a silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games. However, it’s his devastating power that has been a big part of his successful MMA career. Romero’s 8-1 with seven of those victories by knockout.
His last effort was an impressive unanimous decision victory over Brad Tavares at UFC on FOX 11 in Orlando. That win snapped Tavares’ five-fight win streak and marked the first time that Romero had been forced to go the distance. The No. 11 ranked Romero has registered knockout victories over Clifford Starks, Ronny Markes and Derek Brunson. He’s quickly developed into one of the more dangerous 185-pound fighters in the promotion.
The No. 6 ranked Kennedy certainly won’t be intimidated by the task at hand. He’s reeled off four consecutive victories since a decision loss against Luke Rockhold in 2012 for the Strikeforce middleweight title. He’s posted UFC wins over Roger Gracie, Rafael Natal and Michael Bisping. Kennedy utilized his impressive wrestling game in dominating “The Count” in recording a unanimous decision victory in their five-round main event at the TUF Nations Finale in April.
The decorated Army Veteran has produced an 18-4 career mark with 14 finishes by knockout or submission. Kennedy is battle-tested against elite competition having also faced the likes of Robbie Lawler and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. He’s showcased an endless gas tank and has worn down many an opponent during his career.
This shapes up as a very meaningful matchup within the 185-pound weight class. Both fighters are at the top of their games and riding plenty of momentum. The winner will likely be knocking on the door of top-5 territory and will be just another win or two away from a possible title opportunity.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports