A battle between two top ranked middleweights has been added to the UFC 178 card as former Strikeforce contenders Tim Kennedy and Yoel Romero are set to meet in a three round clash. With Kennedy ranked #6 and Romero ranked #11, this bout could shape the middleweight division going forward, with the winner emerging as a top contender and the loser going back down to the bottom of the line.
Tim Kennedy has impressed since joining the UFC from Strikeforce in 2013, winning three in a row against Roger Gracie, Rafael Natal and Michael Bisping. Establishing himself in the upper echelon of a stacked division, Kennedy will hope to take his win streak to five with a win over Yoel Romero. Kennedy is an established wrestler, though Romero is widely regarded as the best in the division in that facet, making this an intriguing bout for the American.
Yoel Romero has been one of the surprise packages since UFC acquired Strikeforce. After losing against Rafael Feijao in his one and only bout for the promotion, Romero has dropped to middleweight and bolstered a 4-0 run which has seen him break into the top 15 of the division. With huge knockouts over respected 185-ers such as Clifford Starks, Ronny Markes and Derek Brunson, Romero scored his biggest win to date over Brad Tavares in April, earning himself a fight against a top 10 competitor.
With Chris Weidman recently defending his UFC title against Lyoto Machida, and Vitor Belfort emerging as the next in line, making a statement is required for both Kennedy and Romero to take the next step into contendership status.
The bout is expected to feature on the main card of the event, which is headlined by Jon Jones putting his UFC light heavyweight title on the line against Alexander Gustafsson in a rematch of their 2013 Fight of the Year at UFC 165. The card is set to be held on September 27 in Las Vegas, NV, though the exact venue has yet to be confirmed by the promotion.