American Top Team has produced many of the sport’s greatest fighters, so when you hear the gym’s founder say one member in particular could be it’s best athlete, it’s kind of a big deal.
Yes, as the title above indicates, that man is Yoel Romero, who is set to fight Lyoto Machida tomorrow night at UFC Fight Night 70. ATT’s founder is the renowned Ricardo Liborio, who recently talked to FOX Sport’s about Romero, and tomorrow’s bout. Here is some of the praise Liborio heaped upon the “Soldier of God”:
“There is something special about him, the way he learns things. He is so smart, and so you rarely see him get seriously hurt. He takes a lot of time to develop his conditioning.”
“Pressure is the No. 1 thing, though. Machida is the kind of guy that you can’t let him dictate the pace. Every time you see him lose, it is off of being pressured. If you don’t pressure him, Machida will rise above. Pressure is something very important, but at the same time Yoel’s wrestling is at a different level. He can wrestle, strike well and is very good on the ground. Yoel Romero may be the very best athlete we have at American Top Team.”
How about that? This is a team that features a ton of elite fighters, so that’s a pretty big compliment Liborio has handed the middleweight. Of course, when you consider Romero is a former Olympic Silver Medalist in wrestling, and a former world champ, it’s not that shocking to hear either.
Now it will be interesting to see if he can get past Machida, who has taken out more than a few, high level wrestlers in his day. But, as Liborio noted, Romero isn’t a guy that has to go the lay-and-pray route. As his win over Clifford Starks (yes, via a flying knee) demonstrated in jaw dropping fashion.
UFC FN 70 will go down at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Heading into the bout, Romero is ranked #6 at 185 and Machida is #4.