UFC 221 hits Australia on Sunday and features a big Middleweight title bout between two great fighters looking to establish their credentials. Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold are set to rock Perth while big Mark Hunt takes on the beast, Curtis Blaydes.  The Palmerbet Sports Team preview both bouts. 

UFC Preview – Yoel Romero V Luke Rockhold

14:00 (AEDT), Sun 11th Feb @ Perth Arena, Australia

Career records: 

  • Romero – 12-2-0 (10 wins by KO, 0 by Submission)
  • Rockhold – 16-3-0 (6 wins by KO, 8 by Submission)

Last bout: 

  • Romero lost to Robert Whittaker (Decision) @ UFC 213, Las Vegas, United States on July 8, 2017
  • Rockhold defeated Dan Miragliotta (KO) @ UFC Fight Night 116, Pennsylvania, United States on Sep 16th, 2017

Final Thoughts: Romero and and Rockhold looks to be a cracker of a main event at UFC 221 in a match up that could turn into an old fashioned stand and bang. Both are great with their fists and will want to prove to Dana White that they deserve a shot at the true title when Robbie Whittaker and the GOAT, George St Pierre return to the Octagon later in 2018.

Yoel Romero has become a Knock Out machine with his heavy hands and a flying knee thats hit you before you’re had time to blink. His 12 wins have come from 10 knock-outs, and he takes fights deep into the contest, not finishing a contest before round 3 since 2013. He has a basic efficiency about his craft. His significant strike rate is 30% below his opponent but an accuracy well above. His lack of submission work is a concern, but he has a very strong takedown defence that he’ll need.

Luke Rockhold gets his shot at the Interim title after putting together a portfolio of strong wins over the last 4 years in the UFC. His strength has always been his submission game, particularly using his long levers to manipulate chokes (6 of 8 submissions). Of late, the work he’s put into his fist speed has really paid dividend to turn him into a far more rounded fighter. He’s starting to use his reach better and that spells trouble for Romero, who has 4 inches less.

Rockhold goes into this one favourite and its not surprising. His mix of grappling ability and newly developed striking, spells real danger for Romero, but we think Rockhold will try to keep his distance and wear down Romero and then take if to the ground. Romero is incredibly fit, but his game seems too one dimensional if things hit the ground. He’s never been submitted, but this could be the first.

Tip:  Luke Rockhold by KO or Submission @ $2.10

Career records: 

  • Hunt – 13-11-1 (10 wins by KO)
  • Blades – 8-1-0 (7 wins by KO).

Last bout: 

  • Hunt def Derrick Lewis (TKO) @ UFC Fight Night 11o, Auckland, New Zealand on June 10, 2017
  • Blaydes def Alexey Oleynik (TKO) @ UFC 217, New York, United States on November 4, 2017

Final Thoughts: In one aimed at the locals, ageing UFC warrior Mark Hunt takes on up and comer Curtis Blaydes. There’s no doubt Hunt has bought plenty to the UFC. In and out of the ring. But his best days are behind him. The boy can still swing though! Curtis Blaydes is the future of the Heavyweight division. If he can quickly put away Hunt in this one, he’s one more fight away from a title shot at Stipe Miocic.

Mark Hunt is a warrior. A punch eating  machine who can knock out any opponent from out of nowhere. Its this amazing power thats made him a fan favourite and this one looks more like a farewell than a career maker. Highly susceptible to submission, Hunt will need to get in close and bang quickly, his fitness remains a concern past round 2.

The 26 year old Blaydes is a not a traditional Heavyweight, his quality is in his takedown. A tactic that will pay dividends against Hunt. An added bonus will be his significant strike percentage, which is over 50% higher than his opponent. Add his 10 inch reach advantage and you’ve got a great recipe to win.

This one looks simple to us. Hunt must finish early and with power. If not we think Blaydes will employ the takedown and pound Hunt to the win.

Tip:  Curtis Blaydes by KO or Submission @ $2.60