UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold main card results

221 romero

Yoel Romero may not have left Perth Arena with the interim UFC middleweight title, but the Cuban standout did put another high-profile name on his record in the main event of UFC 221, as he knocked out former world champion Luke Rockhold in the third round.

The fight between the top two contenders in the 185-pound weight class was made possible when champion Robert Whittaker was forced out of the UFC’s first visit to Perth and his bout against Rockhold due to medical issues. In stepped Romero, who was ineligible to win the interim crown when he weighed in at 187.7 pounds.

And though he didn’t get the belt, he may have set up a rematch with Whittaker, who he lost a close decision to last July.

The two fighters stood perilously close to each other in the early going, leaving the possibility of a sudden ending an ever-present one. Rockhold was the busier fighter, as he went after Romero’s legs with his kicks. By the final two minutes, Romero began returning the favor with his own leg kicks. But with too much posing and not enough striking by Romero, it was Rockhold’s round.

Romero remedied that problem as round two opened, as he blitzed Rockhold with both hands, cutting him over the right eye and briefly jarring him. Rockhold shook off the blows and as the pace settled down, it was the Californian taking the lead once more. Another flurry midway through favored Romero, but as the round drew to a close, it was Rockhold doing the more effective work.

But in typical Romero fashion, a fight can end in a split second, and in the third, the “Soldier of God” ended it emphatically, with a left hand dropping Rockhold and a follow-up left uppercut finishing the fight, with referee Marc Goddard stepping in at 1:48 of round three.

With the win, the No. 1-ranked Romero, 40, improves to 13-2. The No. 2-ranked Rockhold, 33, falls to 16-4.

221 blaydes


Rising heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes survived some early bombs from Aussie superstar Mark Hunt to roar back and use a steady ground-and-pound attack to take a unanimous decision win in the UFC 221 co-main event at Perth Arena.

Scores were 30-26 twice and 29-27.

After some uneventful standup to kick off the action, Blaydes scored a takedown with a little over two minutes gone, but Hunt rose to his feet immediately, and soon, the “Super Samoan” drilled Blaydes with a right hand that staggered the Chicago native. Hunt landed two more right hands and the end appeared to be near, but Blaydes rebounded well with a pair of takedowns that stole Hunt’s momentum and got him out of the round.

Blaydes’ goal was clear as round two commenced, and it was to get Hunt to the mat again. Hunt avoided the first attempt, but midway through the frame, he was grounded by Blaydes. “Razor” stayed busy enough to cut Hunt and keep the fight on the mat, much to the dismay of the crowd.

Blaydes got a pair of takedowns to open the final round, and he moved immediately into the full mount. Blaydes went on the attack with strikes while smothering any attempts by Hunt to get back to his feet. With 2:20 left, Hunt made it to his feet, only to get slammed back to the mat. And seconds later, the same sequence repeated itself. With a little over a minute left, Hunt got daylight, but once more, a Blaydes takedown put the ball back in the up and comer’s court, capping the biggest win of his career.

With the win, the No. 9-ranked Blaydes moves to 9-1 with 1 NC. The No. 5-ranked Hunt falls to 13-12-1 with 1 NC.


Unbeaten Australian heavyweight prospect Tai Tuivasa made short work of Cyril Asker, taking just a little over two minutes to score yet another first-round knockout.

The pace was fast from the start, but once Tuivasa began landing his bombs, it was clear how the fight was heading, and in the second minute, he rocked Asker with a short right elbow that drove him into the fence. The Frenchman tried to weather the storm, but the punches and elbows kept coming, with referee Steve Perceval eventually halting the contest at the 2:18 mark of round one.

Western Sydney’s Tuivasa moves to 9-0 with nine first-round knockouts. Asker falls to 9-4.


Victoria’s Jake Matthews delivered his best performance since returning to welterweight, winning a three-round unanimous decision over China’s Li Jingliang.

Matthews (13-3) had a dominant first round, showing off a vastly improved striking game that included a left hand that dropped Li with a little over two minutes left. Matthews looked for the finish on the mat as he fired off strikes and then sought out a rear naked choke, but Li made it out of the round.

Li (14-5) caught Matthews with a hard uppercut to kick off round two, but Matthews responded with a hard shot of his own and a guillotine choke attempt as the two went to the mat. As Matthews tried to finish, Li fouled the Aussie by gouging his eye, allowing him to get out of the choke and back to his feet without a point deduction from referee Mark Simpson. The two proceeded to trade hard shots, Li holding the edge over the bloodied Matthews.

Matthews got Li to the mat briefly in the opening minute of round two, and he landed some hard strikes in the process. Midway through the round, a right hand put Li on the deck again, but the resilient Beijing native found daylight once more. Matthews finished strong down the stretch though, with some solid striking and a late takedown wrapping things up by scores of 29-28 and 30-26 twice.


Sydney light heavyweight standout Tyson Pedro got the main card off to a winning start for the home team, as he submitted Dagestan native Saparbeg Safarov in the first round.

A big leg kick by Pedro to open the bout was greeted by a Safarov takedown, but the Aussie got up quickly and broke loose. Pedro went on to score well with his strikes, and while Safarov fired off haymakers in return, when the two locked up again, Pedro landed a kimura sweep, with the tap coming moments later at the 3:54 mark as Safarov’s arm was trapped.

With the win, the No. 13-ranked Pedro improves to 7-1. Safarov falls to 8-2.

Article Source: au.ufc.com By Thomas Gerbasi