UFC 221 takeaways: Romero ices Rockhold, youngsters shine in Perth

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(Getty Pictures)

Saturday night time, the UFC made its first foray into Western Australia for UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold, headlined by an elite middleweight scrap between Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero and former champ Luke Rockhold.

Whereas there wasn’t a ton of pleasure surrounding this occasion main into the motion in the Octagon, the athletes delivered as all the time and offered quite a lot of takeaways for us to debate.

Right here’s a take a look at the important thing speaking factors from UFC 221.

Ageless Romero lays out Rockhold

Yoel Romero turns forty one subsequent month, however the former Olympic silver medalist continues to compete at an elite degree contained in the Octagon. Saturday night time, the ageless Cubam middleweight collected probably the most spectacular end of his profession, dropping former champ Luke Rockhold with a clear overhand left earlier than smashing residence a clubbing left to shut out the proceedings.

Each males appeared to be pacing themselves early in the battle — Rockhold cautious to keep away from Romero’s clubbing energy and Romero eager on conserving power after flagging late in his first 5-spherical struggle. After splitting the primary two frames on most scorecards, Romero get rid of the necessity for the judges in the third, icing Rockhold with two good photographs that left him slumped over and sleep alongside the fence.

It was a bittersweet efficiency for Romero, nevertheless, as he missed weight on Friday, nullifying his alternative to win the interim title that was presupposed to be at stake and making it troublesome to hustle him right into a rematch with Robert Whittaker every time the middleweight champ is able to return.

These issues could be sorted out in the longer term, although. For now, it’s time to revel in the ageless awesomeness of the “Soldier of God.”

Curtis Blaydes continues climbing heavyweight ladder

Early in the primary spherical, it appeared like Curtis Blaydes was going to get completed as Mark Hunt related with the sort of sledgehammer blows which have felled extra adorned rivals for years. On shaky legs, Blaydes pressed ahead and drove via a takedown, driving out the remainder of the spherical in dominant place on the canvas.

It was a tactic the 26-yr-previous upstart would flip to eight extra occasions over the ultimate two rounds to grind out a unanimous choice victory over the veteran knockout artist, incomes him the most important win of his profession and pushing his unbeaten streak to 5.

That is the sort of efficiency each Blaydes and the UFC wanted. For Blaydes, he takes one other step ahead in his improvement and turns again one of the crucial seasoned fighters in the division. For the UFC, it sends a younger, enhancing heavyweight into the Prime 5 in a division that’s in dire want of recent names.

Blaydes has critical upside and he’s displaying large progress with every look. Don’t be stunned if he’s difficult for the title in the subsequent 18 months.

Younger Australians shine

Tyson Pedro kicked off the primary card by gripping and ripping a nasty kimura on Saparbek Safarov.

Jake Matthews adopted it up by delivering his most full and spectacular efficiency thus far, surviving a nasty eye gauge to comb the scorecards towards Li Jingliang.

Tai Tuivasa made it three straight by beating the breaks off Cyril Asker, hurting the Frenchman early earlier than felling him with massive lead elbows alongside the cage.

Pedro is the oldest of the lot at 26 and whereas Matthews competes in the loaded welterweight division, Pedro and Tuivasa compete in shallow weight courses, stepping in at mild heavyweight and heavyweight respectively. Though these weren’t large fights for the mainstream viewers or maybe even some hardcore followers, that is precisely why these three have been on the primary card.

These are the kinds of younger, rising prospects everybody must be taking note of going ahead and the type of potential native stars the capability crowd in Perth paid to see.

New names emerge in three divisions

Jussier Formiga has been among the best flyweights in the world for a number of years, however the Brazilian stalwart collected probably the most spectacular victory of his UFC profession on Saturday, rocking Ben Nguyen with a spinning backfist earlier than choking out the adopted Australian in the third.

In a battle of surging featherweights, Alexander Volkanovski straight up smashed unbeaten Canadian Jeremy Kennedy, placing him away in the closing seconds of the second spherical. Now four-zero in the UFC, the previous rugby participant is proving to be a drive to be reckoned with in the one hundred forty five-pound ranks and politely referred to as on the UFC to start out matching him up with the bullies in the division like Andre Fili and Jeremy Stephens.

Hardcore followers have been hyped for the arrival of “The Final Stylebender,” Israel Adesanya, and the kickboxing standout and unbeaten middleweight confirmed why on Saturday. After heading off myriad takedown makes an attempt in the opening spherical, Adesanya began piecing up Rob Wilkinson in the second, ultimately bringing the battle to an in depth with a affected person, punishing onslaught alongside the fence.

All three males made probably the most of their alternatives in Perth and will expertise a step up in competitors subsequent day trip and hopefully garner a bit of extra consideration heading into their comply with-up assignments.

Transparency wanted

In most jurisdictions, judges scores are tallied and placed on a grasp rating sheet, these multi-columned pages battle followers are used to seeing on Twitter every time there’s a shut or controversial determination in the cage.

Because it seems, the Western Australia Fight Sports activities Fee doesn’t launch the names of the judges scoring the fights at ringside or present a breakdown of how they scored every body.

Clearly, this isn’t a great look and it’s even worse when there are questionable scorecards and particularly horrible when these scorecards land in favor of an Australian or New Zealand-based mostly fighter, as they did in the opening bout of the night.

It’s not that I had an issue with Luke Jumeau profitable — I assumed he would get the nod 29-28 towards Daichi Abe — however when the scores learn 29-27, 28-27 and 29-28, I might sort of wish to understand how these officers handed out the eights, nines and 10s to reach at these totals.