Luke Rockhold has lived up to the hype and then some since he arrived in the UFC, and if the former Strikeforce champ takes out Lyoto Machida tonight in Newark, the middleweight could lock up a title shot.
Yes, since Rockhold’s highlight reel loss to Vitor Belfort in 2013, the dynamic fighter has pretty much cruised through the opposition, and has taken out contenders like Costas Philippous, Tim Boetsch and Michael Bisping. Casual fans may not have been familiar with Rockhold several years ago, but they almost certainly are now.
Recently UFC.com ran a lengthy story about the Santa Cruz native, and the story features comments from various folks about Rockhold, including Cain Velasquez. Of course, the heavyweight champ trains with Rockhold out of the American Kickboxing Academy, and here is some of what he had to say about the fighter’s freakish athleticism.
“It’s as if he’s completely made of fast-twitch muscle fibers,” Velasquez explained. “You throw at him, and suddenly he’s not there. You can get frustrated against him, and start reaching. But lunge all the way forward at him and then you can’t defend whatever he counters with against you. Some people will try to catch him and end up getting caught instead.”
Thus, this is why so many people are excited about seeing what unfolds tonight when Rockhold battles Machida. The latter is one of the most elusive and dangerous strikers in the sport, and it will be fascinating to see whether Rockhold can catch him. In the aforementioned story, Rockhold acknowledged that you have to “cut” Machida off and “trap him in the wrong place, and make him fight you.” Yes. One can see why that would help. It has the potential to be a great headliner.
UFC on FOX 15 will be hosted by the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.