UFC 221: Romero isn't Middleweight champion despite KO'ing Rockhold
- Author: Angelo Rivera Feb 12, 2018,
Feb 12, 2018, 1:02
Luke Rockhold, shown on December 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. However, the UFC middleweight champ was sidelined with a litany of injuries, meaning Yoel Romerowas parachuted in to take on Luke Rockhold for the interim middleweight championship. Whittaker was supposed to fight Rockhold on Saturday, but had to pull out with a variety of ailments, including chickenpox and a staph infection.
Though it might sound counterintuitive to award a title shot to an athlete that failed to make weight, Romero does have at least somewhat of an excuse, having taken the Rockhold fight on short notice. The problem? Romero missed weight.
In front of fans in Perth, Australia, Romero (13-2) was patient, looking for his opening. and it came in the third round when he dropped Rockhold with a big left hand.
The UFC's first visit to Western Australia was a fairly succesful one for the locals.
In order to maintain (or at least portray) some semblance of order, the UFC created an interim title fight between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero last July. "We worked very hard in sparring and on the power that Luke has". In the co-headline bout American Curtis Blaydes scored a unanimous decision against the representative of the country-host Mark Hunt. It proved to be a successful strategy. I want to play my game.
Weight, not cardio ended up preventing Romero from leaving the octagon with a belt around his waist. On the feet, he's a lion and I'm not a lion.
Despite this card being brutal, this fight has some serious implications.
Tuivasa knocked out heavyweight Cyril Asker in the first round with a series of punches and elbows. I put a show on for them. "I mean, that was a pretty decisive win". "I recovered after about three seconds, when I got the takedown".
Romero, 40, has won nine of 10 fights in the UFC, and is now coming off a third-round knockout over the former, clear cut No. 1 contender. While Romero stunned Rockhold throughout the bout, the former wasn't fazed by Rockhold's strikes but nearly had to quit the fight in between rounds owing to the aforementioned broken leg.
To kick off the main card, light heavyweights Tyson Pedro and Saparbek Safarov went just one round before the latter was finished by a kimura submission.