UFC 221: Romero isn't Middleweight champion despite KO'ing Rockhold

John Wayne Parr, Chris Weidman

A broken leg wasn't all Romero dealt with in the lead up to the fight, however, as he also failed to make weight on Friday, which is why he isn't leaving Australia as the new UFC interim middleweight champion. UFC®, the worlds premier mixed martial arts organization, is hosting its first-ever live event at West Australia in front of a sell-out crowd at the Perth Arena on Sunday, February 11. Whittaker previously defeated Romero by decision to become interim champion.

UFC president Dana White said that, despite missing weight, Romero will get a shot at Robert Whittaker's middleweight title.

The 40-year-old initially weighed in at 188.3 pounds (85.4kg) but was given two more hours to meet the 185-pound limit. "I trained very hard for this fight".

Both men seemed to be pacing themselves early in the fight - Rockhold careful to avoid Romero's clubbing power and Romero keen on conserving energy after flagging late in his first five-round fight. "I happened to work really fast to get all this done for this fight, it messed up a little bit my plans for the weight cut".

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Prior to the big finish from "The Solider of God", Curtis Blaydes (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Tai Tuivasa (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Jake Matthews (12-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) and Tyson Pedro (7-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) earned victories on what had been considered a weak main-card lineup. He wore down Hunt over three rounds and extended his unbeaten streak to four fights. It was the flawless way to put his UFC 215 defeat against Ilir Latifi behind him, and it showed why he's considered a potential future player in the light-heavyweight division.

Matthews, 23, produced arguably the best performance of his career to defeat Jingliang, but the bout was marred by an ugly incident when the Chinese fighter blatantly gouged Matthews' right eye to escape a tight triangle choke.

"It was just there", he said of the maneuver. I didn't want to go to the second round.

Adam Hill at or. After splitting the first two frames on most scorecards, Romero eliminate the need for the judges in the third, icing Rockhold with two flawless shots that left him slumped over and sleep along the fence. That was the first of nine takedowns during the fight, as Blaydes cruised to a unanimous decision on a pair of 30-26s and a 29-27.

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