UFC 221 takes place tomorrow night! The fight card is full of great fights, but the highlight of the night is a middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold. Luke Rockhold already made things more exciting with his prefight trash talk as he said, “I do everything better than Romero.” Romero is a fill-in for the original fighter Robert Whittaker who had to drop out due to injury. Even as an afterthought, Romero comes in as an experienced fighter who has been on a hot streak as of late. Although, Romero will have his hands full against a fighter like Rockhold who TKO’d David Branch in his last fight. Rockhold is younger and has a size advantage in the matchup.
Luke Rockhold is 16-3 all-time. He is well known for his kickboxing and jiu jitsu skills in the octagon and also has a solid background in wrestling. He stands at 6′ 3″ and 185 pounds and his height and reach are the primary advantages in this particular match. With a 77″ reach, Rockhold has a monster 4-inch advantage over Romero, not to mention a 3-inch leg reach advantage well. Romero weighs in 185 as well but is 3-inches short than Rockhold. Romero does have considerable experience with a 12-2 record, but at 40 years old it is fair to wonder if his best days are behind him. Even at 40, Romero has a rock-solid physique, but the seven-year age difference clearly gives Luke Rockhold better overall odds. Online MMA odds do have Rockhold as the current favorite in this fight.
That is not to say that Yoel Romero has no chance. His best bet to win this match may be to turn into a wrestling match. After all, that is his best fighting style at this stage of his career. Romero, may be the underdog, mostly due to his status as a fill-in fighter, but he is the current #1 ranked middleweight fighter in UFC, while Rockhold is ranked #2. He is ranked number-one for a reason. The numbers behind this fight tell the story. They tell us that when it comes to punching, Rockhold lands many more punches per minute, but with less accuracy than Romero. Grappling is just the opposite. Romero relies on takedowns more often but with less accuracy than Rockhold. Rockhold has even raised the question of Romero being able to grapple with him. Romero is a strong defense fighter however, which may allow him to be able to extend the fight. Romero may not land many significant strikes per minute, but testing his power is not bright as you can see with his amazing 83% KO/TKO rate. These fighters who use two different techniques is part of what makes this an exciting fight. Saturday night it goes down and a middleweight champion will be crowned. Make sure to tune in as UFC 221 figures to live up to the hype, in large part to the headliner of Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold.