We preview this weekend’s UFC Fight Night featuring Machida vs Rockhold

Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida (left) poses with Luke Rockhold prior to this Saturday's UFC Fight Night.

Lyoto 'The Dragon' Machida (left) poses with Luke Rockhold prior to this Saturday's UFC Fight Night.

This Saturday, April 18th, the UFC returns to the Garden state as UFC Fight Night takes over the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The main card includes four intriguing matchups airing live and free, nationally, on FOX television.

In the 5-round main event, No. 2 ranked Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida (22-5, 9-5 in UFC) battles No. 4 Luke Rockhold (13-2, 3-1 in UFC). The former UFC middleweight champion, Machida, is coming off an impressive win in December versus C.B. Dollaway. He was also nominated for fight of the year, for his epic five-round championship defeat to Chris Weidman last summer.

Rockhold, the former Strikeforce champ is on an impressive three-fight win streak with two submissions and a knockout over highly ranked opponents. The winner of this fight will be one step closer to a shot at the title.

UFC Fight Night NJ

The co-main event features the No. 1 ranked middleweight in the world, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (21-3, 4-0 in UFC) in a rematch versus Chris Camozzi (20-9, 6-6 in UFC). Yoel Romero was originally scheduled to fight Souza, also a former Strikeforce champion, but withdrew last week with a knee injury.

This is also the second time Camozzi has stepped in on short notice against top-ranked Souza. They last fought back in May of 2013, where Souza won by an arm-triangle choke in the first round. Fans may be disappointed with the late change, but should expect a top-notch performance nonetheless.

Next in line is an exciting featherweight bout between Cub Swanson (21-6, 6-2 in UFC) and Max “Blessed” Holloway (12-3, 9-3 in UFC). Swanson had his six-fight win streak snapped by Frankie Edgar in the final seconds of the fifth round this past November in a courageous effort. Subsequently, Holloway is on a five-fight win streak, which began after losing a decision to Conor McGregor in the summer of 2013. One thing for certain, these octagon warriors will be swinging fists with reckless abandon.

The first fight on deck for this prime time telecast is in the women’s Strawweight division, featuring Felice “Lil Bulldog” Herrig (10-5, 1-0 in UFC) versus Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant (4-1, 1-0 in UFC).

Both females have interesting back stories that should lead up to a great battle Saturday night. Herrig, an outspoken personality on social media, was a cast member on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, stirring up emotions inside the house. She subsequently lost in the quarterfinals, but won her official debut for the organization via arm bar at the TUF finale five months ago.

VanZant on the other hand, has been highly talked about for her competitive prowess and overall attraction, inside and out of the octagon. “12 Gauge” was left off the TUF lineup, due to being only 20-years old (with alcohol in the house). That didn’t stop the UFC from signing her to a contract, and in her first fight (Nov. 2014), she won by TKO in the 3rd-round over Kailin Curran, which also earned her a $50K performance bonus. She recently inked a Reebok appeal deal as her popularity continues to grow. This fight has the ingredients for greatness; so don’t sleep on the women’s newest division.

The preliminary card is also set to take place on FOX earlier in the night. The card includes Jim Miller vs. Beneil Dariush, Ovince Saint Preux vs. Patrick Cummins, Corey Anderson vs. Gian Villante, and Takeya Mizugaki vs. Aljamain Sterling.

The main card is set for 8pm ET on FOX.

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