After a decorated international wrestling career that includes a
silver medal from the 2000 Summer Games in Athens, Yoel Romero made
the transition to mixed martial arts. Added to the UFC roster when
the doors of Strikeforce were shuttered for good, the 36-year-old
Cuban was an afterthought in the middleweight division.
Following a first-round knockout win in his UFC debut, more
people started to take notice, and even more will be buzzing about
the impressive late arrival following
Wednesday night as part of the UFC Fight For The Troops event in
Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Romero, who trains with the all-star cast of coaches and
fighters at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, once again
showcased his striking prowess, attempting just a single takedown
late in the first round. In fact, it was Markes who had the greater
success in the grappling department, putting Romero on the canvas
twice in the opening frame.
But there was no need for the “Soldier Of God” to
push for the takedown as he was finding a home for his left hand
early and often, blasting Markes from the southpaw stance
repeatedly over the first 10 minutes.
Early in the third and final frame, Romero connected with a
right hand that landed on Markes’ ear, hurting the Brazilian,
who entered Wednesday’s contest having won three straight in
the UFC and seven consecutive contests overall. Sensing his
opponent was in trouble, Romero pressed forward, eventually
catching Markes with a rocketed left that sent him crashing to the
mat in a heap.
The victory, Romero’s second in the UFC and sixth in his
MMA career, should put the sudden and explosive wrestler on the
fast track in the middleweight division. With his tremendous
wrestling pedigree and sudden, explosive power, Romero could make a
quick climb up the 185-pound ranks in 2014.
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