Whittaker withdraws from Perth's UFC 221

LAS VEGAS NV- DECEMBER 12 Yoel Romero celebrates after a middleweight fight against Ronaldo Souza during UFC 194

With Whittaker out, the UFC has made a decision to move forward with an interim title fight with former champion Luke Rockhold facing Yoel Romero in the new main event from Perth, Australia on February 10. Tickets have already gone on sale for the UFC on Fox event in Orlando without the announcement of the main event, and now the loss of this marquee fight.

Whittaker was scheduled to take on former champion Luke Rockhold in UFC 221 at Perth Arena on February 11.

While Whittaker vs. Rockhold was a compelling fight, the event features no other global draws outside fan-favorite heavyweight Mark Hunt, who is set to face the unheralded Curtis Blaydes. The bout will now be contested for the interim UFC middleweight title.

Bisping went down to returning veteran Georges St Pierre who vacated the middlewight belt to Whittaker just 31 days later, citing health reasons.


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

Romero last fought and lost to Whittaker in a five-round contest that put Whittaker in the history books as Australia's first UFC champion.

Former champion Rockhold returned to action at UFC Fight Night 116 in September of 2017, ending the fifteen-month hiatus that followed his first-round stoppage defeat to Bisping at UFC 199 and the loss of his middleweight crown. This card meant so much to me and I'm devastated for not being able to fight.

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