The Yoel Romero era has officially arrived.
The powerful Cuban cemented himself as a middleweight to watch in the UFC Fight Night headliner, as he stopped Lyoto Machida with a series of vicious elbows on the ground 1:38 into the third round at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on Saturday night.
Romero became the first person to knock out Machida since Maurcio Rua stopped “The Dragon” inside of a round at UFC 113 in 2010. More importantly, the dominant victory thrusts “The Soldier of God” into the center of the 185-pound title discussion. Here is a by-the-numbers look at UFC Fight Night “Machida vs. Romero,” with statistics courtesy of FightMetric.com.
5: Knockouts in UFC competition for Romero, tying him for fourth place among fighters at 185 pounds.
6: Consecutive victories for Romero, the second longest active streak in the division behind only Chris Weidman (9).
4: KO/TKO finishes in the third round for Romero, who in addition to Machida has stopped Tim Kennedy, Derek Brunson and Ronny Markes in the third round in UFC bouts. Only Randy Couture (5) has more third-round KO/TKO stoppage triumphs.
42: Significant strikes landed by Romero. By comparison, Machida landed 31. The Cuban middleweight notably held a 16-to-6 edge in significant strikes to the head.
70: Days since Machida’s last Octagon appearance, a second-round submission loss to Luke Rockhold in the UFC on Fox 15 main event. That is the quickest turnaround for “The Dragon” since 2004, when he fought twice in 69 days while competing under the K-1 banner.
6: Consecutive cards, including Saturday night’s event vs. Romero, in which Machida has served as a headliner. Machida’s other opponents in those main events dating back to Oct. 26, 2013: Rockhold, C.B. Dollaway, Chris Weidman, Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz. Machida is 3-3 in those contests, all of which occurred at middleweight.
4:12:15: Total cage time for Machida, No. 6 among active UFC fighters. “The Dragon” spent 11:38 in the Octagon against Romero to move past Rashad Evans (4:00:55), Demian Maia (4:01:19) and Jeremy Stephens (4:06:21). Michael Bisping is No. 5 at 4:30:04.
64: Significant strikes landed by Lorenz Larkin in his second-round stoppage of Santiago Ponzinibbio, the most of anyone on the UFC Fight Night card. “The Monsoon” outlanded his foe by 31 significant strikes and improved to 2-0 since moving to welterweight.
22: Bouts in South America for Ponzinibbio prior to Saturday, when he traveled to Hollywood, Fla., to face Larkin. All of Ponzinibbio’s previous fights took place in either Brazil or Argentina.
4:37: Time of Antonio Carlos Jr.’s third-round rear-naked choke submission of Eddie Gordon, the fifth latest stoppage and third latest submission in UFC middleweight history.
4: Middleweights who have won two fights via knockout in less than a minute in UFC competition. With his head-kick KO of Steve Bosse, Thiago Santos joined Drew McFedries, Mike Swick and Caio Magalhaes as the only 185-pounders to accomplish the feat.
29: Seconds needed by Santos to land the decisive head kick. That makes it the third-fastest finish of its kind in UFC history behind only Nikitia Krylov (25 seconds at UFC on Fox 10) and Gerard Gordeau (26 seconds at UFC 1).
3:18: Total time of Santos’ three UFC wins, all of which came by first-round KO/TKO. “Marreta” has defeated Bosse (0:29), Andy Enz (1:56) and Ronny Markes (0:53) in the Octagon.
1,303: Days since Hacran Dias’ last stoppage victory, an arm-triangle submission against Paulo Dantas at Shooto “Brazil 27” on Dec. 2, 2011. All five of Dias’ UFC appearances (three wins, two losses) have gone the distance, including a split-decision triumph over Levan Makashvili at UFC Fight Night.
36: Total strikes by which Makashvili outlanded Dias. “The Hornet” held a 66-to-30 edge in total strikes and a 37-to-17 advantage in significant strikes but lost a split verdict. Meanwhile, Dias landed three takedowns to Makashvili’s two.
3: Fights taken in the past 98 days for short-notice specialist Alex Oliveira, who outpointed Joe Merritt in his third Octagon appearance in the past three months. “Cowboy” joins another competitor with the same moniker, Donald Cerrone, as the only fighters to compete three times thus far in 2015.
9: Number of bouts scheduled for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event, making it the first card held by the by the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2015 with nine fights. In 2014, the UFC held five events with eight or nine total bouts.