The UFC returns to Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday, April 18 with an exciting main event pitting former UFC champ Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida against former STRIKEFORCE titleholder and fifth-ranked contender Luke Rockhold in a pivotal bout for the middleweight division.
‘JACARE’ SOUZA (#2) vs. YOEL ROMERO (#6)
FELICE HERRIG (#8) vs. PAIGE VANZANT (#10)
CUB SWANSON (#5) vs. MAX HOLLOWAY (#13)
JIM MILLER (#11) vs. PAUL FELDER
Machida (22-5, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif. by way of Belem, Brazil) returns to action following a “Fight of the Night” performance against Chris Weidman and a recent first round TKO victory over CB Dollaway that also netted him a “Performance of the Night” award. Currently ranked No. 3, the Karate expert has become a fan favorite known for his unique counterstriking and lightning-quick speed. Having won three of four bouts since dropping to middleweight, Machida looks at home in his new division and is hoping to become just the third fighter in UFC history to win titles in multiple weight classes.
Rockhold (13-2, fighting out of San Jose, Calif.) has long maintained that he is one of the elite fighters at 185 pounds and just needed the opportunity to prove it. After winning the STRIKEFORCE middleweight title from “Jacare” following a year and a half layoff from injury in 2011, Rockhold went on to pick up dominant victories over current top 15 fighters Tim Kennedy, Costas Philippou, Tim Boetsch and most recently, Michael Bisping. The AKA-based fighter who routinely trains alongside Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier hopes that in 2015, he’ll add UFC champion to his resume.
Winner of his last seven bouts dating back to his STRIKEFORCE tenure, second-ranked “Jacare” Souza(21-3, 1NC, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has become one of the most feared men in the middleweight division. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who possesses knockout power, Souza has handily defeated Gegard Mousasi, Robbie Lawler, Kennedy, Francis Carmont and Yushin Okami throughout his recent career. The former STIRKEFORCE middleweight champ believes he’s the rightful owner of the next shot at UFC gold.
Standing in his way, is No. 6 contender and Cuban Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist, Yoel Romero (9-1, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.). Romero has been on a tear since entering the Octagon, defeating four of his opponents by devastating knockout and earning “Fight of the Night” on two occasions. With 2014 wins over Kennedy, Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson, Romero looks poised to take the next step in his already-impressive MMA career.
Also scheduled for the card:
In a battle of top 10 women’s strawweights, The Ultimate Fighter season 20 cast member Felice Herrig (10-5, fighting out of Crystal Lake, Ill.) squares off against 20-year-old prospect Paige VanZant (4-1, fighting out of Reno, Nev.) in a matchup sure to produce fireworks.
Fifth-ranked contender Cub Swanson (21-6, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M. by way of Palm Springs, Calif.) takes on No. 13 Max Holloway (12-3, fighting out of Waianae, Hawaii) in an explosive battle of featherweight strikers.
·New Jersey’s own Jim Miller (24-5, 1NC, fighting out of Sparta, N.J.) puts his No. 11 ranking on the line against undefeated up-and-comer Paul Felder (10-0, fighting out of Philadelphia, Pa.) in an exciting lightweight bout.
Bantamweights collide as Long Island’s Aljamain Sterling (10-0, fighting out of Uniondale, N.Y) looks to stay unbeaten against seventh-ranked Takeya Mizugaki (20-8-2, fighting out of Kanagawa, Japan).
The Ultimate Fighter season 19 middleweight winner and Serra-Longo fighter Eddie “Truck” Gordon (8-2, fighting out of Uniondale, N.Y.) faces wrestler Chris Dempsey (10-2, fighting out of Lower Burrell, Pa.)
· The Ultimate Fighter season 19 light heavyweight winner and Ricardo Almeida-trained prospect Corey Anderson (6-0, fighting out of Rockford, Ill.) squares off against Long Island’s Gian Villante (12-5, fighting out of Bellmore, N.Y.).
Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MACHIDA vs. ROCKHOLD go on sale Friday, February 20 at 10 a.m. ET and are priced at $225, $150, $100, $75, $50 and $40. Tickets will be available at all Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available for purchase at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets will be available at Prudential Center’s box office beginning Monday, February 23 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Ticket prices do not include applicable service charges.
UFC Fight Club members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to this event Thusday, February 19 at 10 a.m. ET via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Friday, February 20 starting at 10 am. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.