Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Champ Robert Whittaker out of UFC 221

Champ Robert Whittaker out of UFC 221

This fight at UFC 221 will be the second interim title in that division in the a year ago.

Whittaker, born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, was scheduled to face Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221 in Perth on February 11 but he suffered several significant injuries in training. It was the former champ's first fight since losing his middleweight belt to Bisping at UFC 199 in June of 2016.

The show must go on so middleweight contender Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) steps in to face Rockhold for the interim middleweight title.

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ESPN reports that Whittaker will have to wait a little longer for the chance, as he's pulled himself from the fight against Luke Rockhold due to an undisclosed injury.

Romero, a top contender for the UFC middleweight championship, will instead face Luke Rockhold for the interim title at UFC 221 in Australia after it was announced Saturday that current champ Robert Whittaker had been injured.

"I'm beyond disappointed that I'm unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia", Whittaker told ESPN. The new main event at UFC 221 will still have championship gold resting in the balance as Rockhold vs. Romero will fight for an interim strap with the victor facing Whittaker in a unification bout later in 2018.

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The 40-year-old had his eight-fight winning streak snapped by Whittaker in an interim title bout at T-Mobile Arena in July. This card meant so much to me and I'm devastated for not being able to fight.

Romero was already scheduled for a fight a few weeks later at UFC on FOX 28 from Orlando in a middleweight bout against David Branch. All I can do is focus on getting healthy to come back better than ever.

A former Cuban Olympic silver-medalist wrestler, Romero was scheduled to face Branch at a UFC Fight Night event on February 24. "All the best to Yoel and Luke for their fight and ill be waiting..."

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