|UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold|
The poster for UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold.
|Promotion||Ultimate Fighting Championship|
|Date||February 11, 2018|
|City||Perth, Western Australia|
While the UFC has hosted 11 previous events across the country, the event marked the promotion's first visit to Perth, in Western Australia, after the state government overturned its ban on cage fighting.
In order for the event to be broadcast live during prime time hours on the east coast of North America, the main card began at 11:00 a.m. local time in Perth WST, with a full preliminary card beginning at approximately 7:00 a.m. local time.
While not officially announced by the promotion, a UFC Middleweight Championship unification bout between then champion Georges St-Pierre (who is also a former two time UFC Welterweight Champion) and interim champion Robert Whittaker (also The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes welterweight winner), was initially targeted to serve as the event headliner. However, St-Pierre later indicated that he was currently mulling his future in the division and announced that he expected to be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Subsequently, St-Pierre vacated the championship on December 7 and Whittaker was promoted to undisputed champion. Whittaker was then expected to defend the championship against former Strikeforce and UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold in the main event. However, it was announced on January 13 that Whittaker pulled out of the bout and was replaced by former middleweight interim title challenger (as well as 2000 Olympic silver medalist and former world champion in freestyle wrestling) Yoel Romero, who was scheduled to face former WSOF Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion David Branch at UFC on Fox: Emmett vs. Stephens. The bout was also established as an interim title contest.
A lightweight bout between Jeremy Kennedy and Alexander Volkanovski was originally scheduled for UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura. However, Kennedy pulled out due to a back injury. The pairing was later rescheduled for this event.
At the weigh-ins, Romero came in at 187.7 lb (after coming in at 188.3 lb in his first attempt), 2.7 pounds over the middleweight limit of 185 lb for a championship fight. As a result, in the event that Romero won the fight with Rockhold, he would be ineligible for the championship, while the latter was still eligible. Romero was fined 30% of his purse, which went to Rockhold and the bout proceeded as scheduled at a catchweight.
|Catchweight (187.7 lb)||Yoel Romero||def.||Luke Rockhold||KO (punches)||3||1:48||[a]|
|Heavyweight||Curtis Blaydes||def.||Mark Hunt||Decision (unanimous) (30–26, 30–26, 29–27)||3||5:00|
|Heavyweight||Tai Tuivasa||def.||Cyril Asker||TKO (punches and elbows)||1||2:18|
|Welterweight||Jake Matthews||def.||Li Jingliang||Decision (unanimous) (29–28, 30–26, 30–26)||3||5:00|
|Light Heavyweight||Tyson Pedro||def.||Saparbek Safarov||Submission (kimura)||1||3:54|
|Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1)|
|Lightweight||Dong Hyun Ma||def.||Damien Brown||Decision (split) (29–28, 28–29, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Middleweight||Israel Adesanya||def.||Rob Wilkinson||TKO (knees and punches)||2||3:37|
|Featherweight||Alexander Volkanovski||def.||Jeremy Kennedy||TKO (punches and elbows)||2||4:57|
|Flyweight||Jussier Formiga||def.||Ben Nguyen||Technical Submission (rear-naked choke)||3||1:43|
|Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)|
|Lightweight||Ross Pearson||def.||Mizuto Hirota||Decision (unanimous) (30–27, 30–27, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Bantamweight||José Alberto Quiñónez||def.||Teruto Ishihara||Decision (unanimous) (30–27, 29–28, 29–28)||3||5:00|
|Welterweight||Luke Jumeau||def.||Daichi Abe||Decision (unanimous) (29–28, 29–27, 28–27)||3||5:00|
- For the interim UFC Middleweight Championship (only Rockhold was eligible to win the title due to Romero missing weight).
The following fighters were awarded $50,000 bonuses:
- Fight of the Night: Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang
- Performance of the Night: Israel Adesanya and Jussier Formiga
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- Jordan Breen (2017-10-30). "UFC targets MW Title unification with Whittaker, Bisping-GSP winner for Perth debut at UFC 221". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
- Fernanda Prates and John Morgan (2017-11-05). "Dana White: Robert Whittaker is next for new UFC champ Georges St-Pierre". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
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- Thomas Gerbasi (2017-12-07). "Whittaker vs Rockhold set for UFC 221 main event". ufc.com. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- Alexander K. Lee (2018-01-13). "Robert Whittaker out of UFC 221 with injury, Luke Rockhold to fight Yoel Romero for interim title". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
- Nolan King (2017-10-05). "Jeremy Kennedy suffers back injury; out of UFC Sydney". mma-today.com. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
- Nolan King (2017-12-21). "Exclusive: Jeremy Kennedy vs. Alex Volkanovski added to UFC 221 in Perth". mma-today.com. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
- Marc Raimondi (2018-02-10). "Update: Yoel Romero misses weight, cannot win interim title at UFC 221". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
- "UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold". Ultimate Fighting Championship. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- Staff (2018-02-11). "UFC 221 bonuses: Much-hyped newcomer among night's $50,000 winners". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2018-02-11.