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UFC 221: Yoel Romero turns off Luke Rockhold's lights in third round
12 February 2018, 01:18 | Percy Christensen
UFC 221 Live Stream: Watch Romero vs Rockhold online
While he's not interim champion, the win possibly puts Romero in line for a rematch against current reigning champion Robert Whittaker, who is out due to injury and forced to withdraw from his spot at UFC 221.
UFC 221 weigh-in results and video: Rockhold 185, Romero 187.7. Against Rockhold, the Cuban native looked to rebound from his decision loss to Whittaker in their initial interim title fight at UFC 213 in July 2017.
But fans hoping to see a match-up against Whittaker in the near future will take comfort from a tweet sent by Romero's rep shortly after the fight.
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. "The Reaper" was elevated to undisputed champion when Georges St. Pierre recently vacated the title after defeating Michael Bisping at UFC 217. He connected with a double jab and then fired an overhand left that dropped Rockhold onto the seat of his trousers near the cage. Rockhold is a very good athlete and an fantastic fighter.
Rockhold (16-4) applied the pressure in Round 1 in his attempt to break down his opponent and claim the interim belt. We had a week plan laid out and we got a call from the UFC and we knew there was going to be a little bit of a problem, but we didn't think there was actually going to be a problem come weight day.
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But this win shows that Romero can never be counted out so long as he remains standing.
In the co-main event of the evening American heavyweight Curtis Blaydes overcame an early scare to score the biggest victory of his MMA career as he outpointed Kiwi legend Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt after a gruelling three-round battle.
Hunt started strongly and looked to be on course for a win after rocking Blaydes with some heavy shots in the opener. But he missed weight, and even though middleweight is lacking legitimate title contenders at the moment, it's very hard to reward a fighter for missing weight by giving them a title shot.
It's a shame Yoel Romero didn't make weight, otherwise he'd be leaving Australia with UFC gold. Rockhold has the more well-rounded game, but Romero has the more unsafe power.
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