Santa Cruz's Luke Rockhold TKO'd by Cuban Yoel Romero at UFC 221

Arnold Nichols
February 12, 2018

Yoel Romero beat Luke Rockhold by knockout in the third round of their scheduled middleweight interim title bout Sunday, the main card highlight of UFC 221 at the Perth Arena.

Prior to the fight taking place, Romero came in almost three pounds over the 185-pound limit on his second attempt at Friday's weigh-in, meaning not only did he lose 30 percent of his purse to Rockhold, but he also lost his chance to win the interim UFC Middleweight Championship. He came close, tipping the scale at 187.7 pounds on his second attempt, but he couldn't quite make it to 185 pounds in time. And from the looks of it, that may prove to be a very good thing for Romero, as despite not winning the interim belt at UFC 221, it's looking more and more likely he'll get his rematch with Whittaker.

UFC 221 live stream, watch online, Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel Romero. All the UFC has to do is show the replay of him knocking out Rockhold to get fans interested.

Prior to his loss to Whittaker, Romero was on a wild eight-fight streak, highlighted by triumphs over Brad Tavares, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, and former champ Chris Weidman. The kicks of the first round had been replaced by a jab meaning that Romero was now merely at arm's length rather than further outside on the perimeter of kicking range.

Sure, Romero has already been punished by having 30% of his purse taken away and given to Rockhold, plus he was ineligible for the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus. "I'm not necessarily sure exactly what went wrong", Romero said.


Yet he's not the interim champion.

Romero strung together with handsome punching combinations in the second round and followed up with yet another hellacious offensive chain of movements in the third round.

Rockhold, ranked No. 2, was expecting to put on a better showing than his last fight, when he earned a second-round TKO over David Branch at UFC Fight Night in Pittsburgh on September 16. 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.

That fight could take place as early as June. A knee injury forced Rockhold to withdraw from a fight with Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza later that year.

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