Robert Whittaker pulls out of UFC 221 as replacement fight is named

Jose Verdugo
Enero 13, 2018

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was slated to face Luke Rockhold in the main event at UFC 221, but it appears that an injury has forced "Bobby Knuckles" to the sidelines.

It's a major blow to the UFC's 221 pay-per-view event, which is scheduled to take place in Perth, Australia.

"I'm beyond disappointed that I'm unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia", Whittaker said.

It will be the first time the UFC has staged an event in Western Australia, and Whittaker admits he is devastated not to be fighting on the card. "I hope the fans enjoy what should be a great night of fights at UFC 221, and I look forward to a recovery as soon as possible that will have me back in the Octagon to face the victor of the main event".

Rockhold, who trains out of American Kickboxing Academy and Combat Club, is looking to recapture a UFC title.

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Rockhold (16-3), meanwhile, a former middleweight champion in both the UFC and Strikeforce, is coming off a win over Branch at UFC Fight Night 116. That marked his first fight back after being knocked out by Michael Bisping at UFC 199.

Romero, meanwhile, had been scheduled to face David Branch at UFC Orlando (UFC on FOX 28) on February 24.

The switch is yet another unusual turn in the UFC's middleweight division.

Whittaker was promoted to undisputed champion when Georges St. Pierre chose to vacate the 185lb title he won from Michael Bisping at UFC 217.

Prior to that loss, Romero had won eight in a row, including six by knockout. Those wins included victories over Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza and Lyoto Machida.

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