The UFC heads to Australia for the first time this season when it sets up shop in Perth for UFC 221. Although the card is far from the sexiest you’ll notice, there are still lots of compelling bouts to stay diehard fans intrigued.
The main event features Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold facing away. This bout was for the interim middleweight crown but following Romero failed to make weight, the name is only going to be online for Rockhold. The rest of the card is filled with plenty of hometown ability that will look to find the audience in Perth excited for their first event ever.
Yoel Romero vs Luke Rockhold
Romero (+120) is an athletic freak. Regardless of being 40 years old,”The Soldier of God” has more speed, ability and athleticism than fighters half his age. This is the foundation of the entire game of Romero. At the striking stage, the Cuban only begs and begs for his moment to burst to strikes. It works the exact same for his wrestling. Romero is an Olympic wrestler and relies on that skill set more than any other but that he still prefers to land takedowns with explosiveness rather than grinding it out.
However, Romero has a little gas tank. He is patient in the Octagon since he burns off his cardio extremely fast. You can see him visibly breathing heavily after a big explosion of movement. That’s why his entire game is built around controlled bursts of energy leading to controlling his competitor.
Not to be outdone, Rockhold (-150) is more athletically gifted than 95 percent of the fighters in the UFC. The former champion is powerful and fast but uses his normal size benefit better than most in the branch, whether that is working from range supporting his left hook and body kick or dominating the leverage battle from the clinch. Offensively wrestling isn’t something Rockhold focuses on — unless working out of the clinch — but he is just one of the craftier submission fighters in the branch.
There are holes in the game of Rockhold. The only minor flaw that sticks out is his tendency to rely on specific strikes on the feet. He could rely a lot on his left body and hook kick, telegraphing and giving up a chance to get countered.
Romero is very harmful as they come but his cardio is not really there to compete with Rockhold. “The Soldier of God” can always land a KO shot — he has proven that — but Rockhold’s clinch work will wear Romero down.
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