The UFC heads to Australia for the first time this year once it sets up shop in Perth for UFC 221. Though the card is far from the sexiest you’ll see, there are still plenty of persuasive bouts to stay diehard fans intrigued.
The main event features Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold facing off. This bout was for the interim middleweight crown but after Romero failed to make weight, the title is only going to be on the line for Rockhold. The remaining portion of the card is stuffed with loads of hometown ability that will look to get the crowd in Perth eager 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, power and athleticism than fighters half his age. This is Romero game’s base. In the striking stage, the Cuban only floats and waits for his moment to explode into strikes. It works the same because of his wrestling. Romero is an Olympic wrestler and depends upon that skill set over any other but that he prefers to property takedowns with explosiveness instead of grinding it out.
However, Romero has a gas tank that is small. He is patient in the Octagon since he burns through his cardio extremely fast. You are able to see him visibly breathing after a significant explosion of motion. That is why his entire game is built around controlled bursts of energy resulting in controlling his competitor.
Not to be outdone, Rockhold (-150) is much more athletically gifted than 95% of those fighters in the UFC. The former winner is powerful and fast but uses his natural size benefit better than many 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 functioning from the clinch — but he is one of the craftier submission fighters in the branch.
There are holes in Rockhold’s game. The only minor flaw that sticks out is his tendency to rely on particular strikes on the feet. He can rely too much on his left body and hook kick, telegraphing and giving up a chance to become countered.
Romero is very dangerous 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 demonstrated that — but Rockhold’s clinch work will wear Romero down.
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