With both fighters possessing top-notch wrestling skills, the bout promised to be a war.
Nova Uniao-trained product Markes was on a roll as of late with three straight victories in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He looked to extend that win streak to four on FOX Sports 1.
And he did just that, notching the sixth finish of his young mixed martial arts (MMA) career. Let's take a look at how Romero earned the stoppage at "Fight for Troops 3."
Despite Romero's wrestling background as an Olympic silver medalist, it was Markes who scored the fight's first takedown with a single leg. He couldn't do much with it and Romero got up to throw some strikes. Romero was largely unsuccessful and Markes soon scored another takedown. Romero began to find a home for his left hand as the first round wound down.
Romero opened up his striking with a good kick and knee early on in the second. His left continued to score as Markes refused to move his head. Romero followed with a sharp kick to the body that dropped Markes, who got up to land good strikes of his own as the action heated up. Markes landed a big right to stun his opponent. The round closed out with a back-and-forth battle erupting on the feet.
Markes came out with a killer instinct in the third round, throwing some big punches. Romero fought back with more left hands to stumble Markes. Soon thereafter, Romero uncorked his biggest left hand of the night.
This time it dropped Markes in a big way.
A few follow-up shots were unnecessary as Markes was dazed on the canvas, unable to continue. Romero improved his record to 6-1, with all of his wins coming by knockout. He's undefeated inside the Octagon and looks to be a contender at 185 pounds. Even in a division as talented as middleweight, Romero is a true force to be reckoned with. He's absolutely monstrous for the division and has a wrestling pedigree that few UFC fighters will be able to match. The scary part of his win at "Fight for Troops 3" was that he didn't even look to use his main skill set.
Romero has come a long way in his striking and showed it last night.
He's likely in line for a huge step up in competition after derailing Markes' considerable hype. It could even be against someone in the lower level of the top 10. If UFC continues to feed him wrestlers, a bout with reeling Mark Munoz could be interesting for Romero. Munoz hasn't exactly shown great resistance to strikes as of late, so Romero actually presents a very bad match-up for "Filipino Wrecking Machine."
Romero doesn't have time to waste fighting lower-level opponents at 36 years of age.
Markes will have to go back to the drawing board and work on his defense. In a division so full of talented strikers, the Brazilian simply won't survive without utilizing more head movement. That strategy is only going to get his block knocked off repeatedly. His training camp should be able to correct that negative tendency, but he'll have to practice what they preach.
Yoel Romero looks like he's becoming a freight train at middleweight. Will he fare as well once he begins to face top competition?
For complete UFC Fight Night 31 results, including play-by-play of the entire fight card click here. For recaps, videos, highlights, commentary and more from Wednesday night's FOX Sports 1 event check out our "Fight for Troops 3" live story stream here.