clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sorry Jacare, but Luke Rockhold just dominated Lyoto Machida and earned himself a UFC title shot

That was shockingly easy.

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was hoping to sort through some of its middleweight clutter last night (Sat., April 18, 2015) with its UFC on FOX 15 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which took place inside the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey (results and play-by-play here).

Mission accomplished.

While Ronaldo Souza was basically going through the motions against Chris Camozzi, a late replacement for the banged-up Yoel Romero, the promotion's primary focus was on the 185-pound main event pitting Luke Rockhold against Lyoto Machida.

It was scheduled for five rounds, but only lasted two.

That's because "The Dragon" was utterly dominated by his younger and much bigger foe, which means Rockhold -- the former Strikeforce middleweight champion -- will likely move on to fight the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort, who collide this May in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And there are two things Rockhold has been begging for over the last two years.

One of them is a 185-pound title shot, and the other is a rematch against Vitor Belfort, who kicked his head into the fourth row when they first met in Brazil back in early 2013. Interestingly enough, he may get both, depending on how well "The Phenom" does against the "All American."

Sorry, "Jacare."

It was not outrageous to suggest that Souza -- winner of eight straight -- was the front runner for the next crack at the division crown. That, however, would have required a win by Machida, since the streaking Brazilian was upended by Rockhold when they went toe-to-toe inside the Showtime-televised Hexagon in 2011.

But after the kind of performance we saw by Rockhold in "Dirty Jersey" -- which marks four straight wins with four violent finishes -- there is no question he's catapulted himself to the front of the line. And if Belfort should fall over Memorial Day Weekend, a title fight opposite Weidman could produce fireworks.

Thinking back, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when I was worried about the middleweight division being able to maintain its excitement without Anderson Silva steering the ship. Considering what's about to transpire in the mid-to-second half of 2015, especially with a resurgent "Jacare" waiting in the wings, I'm not sure he'll be missed.

Unless he decides to make good on this.

For more UFC on FOX 15 results and fallout from Saturday night's big shebang in "The Garden State," including highlights, recaps, analysis, and more, click here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania