The UFC heads to Australia for the first time this season once it sets up shop in Perth to get UFC 221. Although the card is far from the sexiest you’ll notice, there are still plenty of compelling bouts to keep diehard fans intrigued.
The main event features Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold facing away. This bout was for the interim middleweight crown but after Romero failed to make weight, the name will only be on the line for Rockhold. The rest of the card is filled with loads of hometown ability that’ll look to find the audience in Perth eager for their first event ever.
Yoel Romero vs Luke Rockhold
Romero (+120) is an athletic freak. Despite being 40 years old,”The Soldier of God” has more speed, ability and athleticism than fighters half his age. This is the base of the entire game of Romero. In the striking stage, the Cuban only floats and waits for his moment to explode into strikes. It functions the same for his wrestling. Romero is a Olympic wrestler and relies on that skill set over any other but that he prefers to land takedowns with explosiveness instead of grinding it out.
But, Romero has a gas tank that is little. He’s individual in the Octagon since he burns through his cardio extremely quickly. You are able to see him visibly breathing after a significant explosion of motion. That is exactly why his entire game is built around controlled bursts of energy resulting in controlling his opponent.
Not to be outdone, Rockhold (-150) is much more athletically gifted than 95% of those fighters in the UFC. The former champion is fast and powerful but uses his natural size benefit better than most in the branch, whether that is working from range behind his left hook and body kick or controlling the leverage battle in the clinch. Offensively wrestling is not something Rockhold focuses on — unless working from the clinch — he is one of the craftier entry fighters in the division.
There are holes in the game of Rockhold. The only minor flaw which sticks out is that his tendency to rely on particular strikes on the feet. He could rely too much on his left hook and body kick, telegraphing and giving a opportunity to get countered.
Romero is as 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 proven that — but Rockhold’s clinch work will put on Romero down.
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