UFC 221: Fight predictions and analysis

Sheri Evans
February 12, 2018

Luke Rockhold took a huge blow in his bid to return to the top of the middleweight division at UFC 221 at Perth Arena in Australia on Saturday night.

It was a bittersweet performance for Romero, however, as he missed weight on Friday, nullifying his opportunity to win the interim title that was supposed to be at stake and making it hard to hustle him into a rematch with Robert Whittaker whenever the middleweight champ is ready to return. Despite winning the fight, Romero won't be crowned the interim champion because he missed weight.

Already ranked as the division's number-one contender, Romero's victory is likely to see him installed as the next challenger for the UFC middleweight title, held by Australian Robert Whittaker, who recorded a unanimous decision victory over the Cuban in July previous year. At the end of the fight, Aussie fighter Matthews walked away with a unanimous decision victory, and both fighters walked away with $50,000 bonus checks.

Romero only took the fight at short notice after Australian Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw last month after contracting a staph infection.

A little over a minute and a half into the third, Romero manoeuvred Rockhold toward the fence with his feet and crept closer behind a double jab before firing an overhand left. The former middleweight champion crumpled to the canvas where he froze and Romero pounced to deliver one more sickening shot before the fight was called off by referee Marc Goddard. Romero was originally scheduled to face David Branch at UFC on Fox 28 in Orlando, Fla., on February 24 before he accepted the fight against Rockhold.

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Romero is an incredible fighter and his 9-2 record with eight finishes in the UFC is remarkable.

"If it were not for the mess up on the weight, he (Romero) would have had the interim belt".

Hunt, 43, has now lost two of his last three fights. "I'm very happy because I fight this time with the best". This streak is highlighted by wins over Brad Tavares, Uriah Hall, Rafael Natal, Derek Brunson, "Jacare", and of course, Romero.

"The weight situation, I don't think that's going to play into it (when it comes to a title shot)", Shaw said after the event.

Watch the live weigh-in stream for UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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