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UFC 221 live results: Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold

Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold, emanating from the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia.

The UFC's first trip to Perth will be headlined by an Interim UFC Middleweight Championship bout as Yoel Romero takes on former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold. Romero steps in as a replacement for UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker, who was originally scheduled to defend against Rockhold, but was forced out due to several medical issues.

However, during weigh-ins for the event, Romero missed weight, coming in at 187.7 pounds. Due to that, he is ineligible to win the interim championship, as it can now only be won by Rockhold.

Romero steps into the Octagon for the first time since July, when he came up short in another interim title bout against the aforementioned champion, Whittaker. Prior to that, Romero had won his previous eight bouts. Rockhold is looking to get gold back around his waist, as he was the UFC Middleweight Champion once before. He comes into this fight off of a dominant win over David Branch in September, which was his first fight since losing the UFC gold.

Also on the card, in the co-main event, Mark Hunt goes for his second straight win when he takes on Curtis Blaydes, who is unbeaten in his last four fights. In preliminary action, exciting kickboxer Israel Adesanya makes his UFC debut, looking to remain undefeated as he battles Rob Wilkinson in middleweight action.

Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time with preliminary action all the way through the main card.

We are looking for your thoughts on tonight's event, so send a thumbs up, a thumbs down or a thumbs in the middle along with a best fight and a worst fight to Dave at dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS | 6:30 PM ET/3:30 PM PT

> Luke Jumeau (12-4, 1-1 UFC) vs. Daichi Abe (6-0, 1-0 UFC)
Welterweights

First half of the round was fairly even with maybe a slight advantage for Jumeau. Abe hurt him with a punch combo and Jumeau almost went down. On the next good punch combo from Abe, Jumeau did go down and Abe was all over him with punches. Jumeau weathered it and got to his feet but he had cuts all over his face. Abe made him stumble one more time in the last minute and total head strikes were 45-11 for Abe. 10-8 Abe

Jumeau got an early takedown but didn't do anything with it and Abe was up quickly. Jumeau was landing punches all round. Not a tremendous volume or anything but consistently landing. Abe was noticeably tired by two minutes in and didn't land a ton and Jumeau probably took a close round 10-9, so it's 19-18 Abe after 2

I should note that Jimmy Smith, formerly of Bellator, is in the booth tonight and he's very good, particularly when talking about scoring. Round 3 was pretty inactive for both guys, with Jumeau having a slight striking advantage the first four minutes. Jumeau dropped him twice with leg kicks in the last minute and finished the fight dropping hammer fists. 10-9 Jumeau, 28-28 overall but I suspect the judges will probably give it to Jumeau. 

Official result - Luke Jumeau (13-4) by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27 and 28-27)

> Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2, 3-2-1 UFC) vs. Jose Quinonez (6-2, 3-1 UFC)
Bantamweights

Quinones dominated the first three minutes or so, getting an early takedown and when Ishihara got up, controlling the cage clinch. His cup came out of his shorts and the ref stopped the action to let him put it back in and then took away position. Ishihara was better on the standup after the restart and had him in a little bit of trouble at the end of the round. He also landed a knee strike clearly after the bell but didn't get warned by the ref. 10-9 Quinones 

Quinonez landed a lot of leg kicks but that was about it. Ishihara got an early takedown but Quinonez was up fairly quickly. Ishihara stagged Quinonez with a punch with about 15 seconds left and he went down and Ishihara landed a few more punches at the end. The last flurry should be enough to take the round. 10-9 Ishihara, 19-19 overall

Neither guy did much of anything this round. Leg kicks were the strikes of choice for both guys and they landed almost the exact same amount. Ishihara was stuffed on a takedown attempt. Quinones seemed like the more agressive fighter so I gave it to him but it could go either way. 10-9 Quinonez, 29-28 overall

Official result - Jose Alberto Quinonez (7-2) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)

No way any reasonable judge could give Quinonez round 2 but you can't say the right guy didn't win. 

> Ross Pearson (19-14 1 NC, 11-11 1 NC UFC) vs. Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2, 1-3-1 UFC)
Lightweights

Round 1 was enritely on the feet despite a takedown attempt from Hirota. Pearson was the more active fighter and probably took the round but it was close. 10-9 Pearson

Round 2 was almost exactly the same as the first although Pearson was landing even more and Hirota had a few cuts on his face. Hirota landed his best, maybe only combo, of the fight with 30 seconds left and then had Pearson in trouble with another flurry right before the bell. 10-9 Hirota, 19-19 overall

Another round that was entirely on the feet. Hirota was landing a lot of leg kicks early and as a result of that, he actually had the advantage in significant strikes landed in the fight. Other than the leg kicks, the strike count was 55-55 overall for the fight. Pearson's head strikes definitely did more damage as Hirota's face was a bloody mess by the end of the fight. I gave Pearson the round 10-9 and the fight 29-28

Official result - Ross Pearson (20-14) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)

Pearson was a big crowd favorite in the post-fight interview, with an AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE chant as it's now his adopted home. It was a close fight but again, there is no way a reasonable judge could've given Pearson round 2 and two of these judges did. 

FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS | 8 PM ET/5 PM PT

> Jussier Formiga (#4, 20-5, 6-4 UFC) vs. Ben Nguyen (#8, 18-6, 4-1 UFC)
Flyweights

Feeling out process early with neither guy landing much of anything. Nguyen did land a couple of head kicks but they didn't do much damage. 3 minutes in, Formiga got a trip takedown and moved right into side control. He quickly gained mount but didn't do much with the position. He landed occasional head strikes but no damage even though he had complete control. 10-9 Formiga

Nguyen clinched on the cage early but Formiga took control and then Nguyen broke free. He stuffed a takedown attempt about 2 minutes in but Formiga landed one at 2:45. He didn't do any damage on the ground though and Nguyen got to his feet after about 30 seconds. Nguyen did open up a cut on Formiga with an elbow to the forehead. Formiga landed an eye poke late in the round. 10-9 Formiga but close, 20-18 overall

Formiga landed a spinning back fist that dropped Nguyen. He was all over him on the ground with punches and then secured a rear naked choke. Nguyen nearly passed out before tapping. 

Official result - Jussier Formiga (21-5) by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:43 of Round 3

That win ties Formiga for the 3rd most wins in UFC flyweight history and he's the top ranked contender to never get a title shot. Formiga asked for a shot at the belt, saying "Dana White, I want my shot, please". 

> Alexander Volkanovski (16-1, 3-0 UFC) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (11-0, 3-0 UFC)
Featherweights

Volkanovski got a takedown about a minute in and did a ton of ground and pound for the remainder of the round. He landed great punches and elbows, almost all to the head. Kennedy did manage to get to his feet just before the round ended but it was a one-sided beatdown by the Australian. 10-8 Volkanovski 

Volkanovski got a takedown 30 seconds in but didn't do a ton of damage and Kennedy manage to get to his feet. He was stuffed on a takedown attempt of his and then Volkanovski got another takedown about 2 minutes in. Volkanovski was relentless after that, landing a ton of punches and elbows. Ref warned Kennedy to fight back a couple of times and gave him chances but stepped in right before the round ended and stopped the fight. Good stoppage. 

Officialy result - Alexander Volkanovski (17-1) by TKO (punches and elbows) at 4:57 of Round 2

Volkanovski asked for a top contender and brought up the names Andre Fili and Jeremy Stephens. Fili would be a very interesting fight. A fight with Stephens could probably headline an FS 1 show in the Australasia market. 

> Rob Wilkinson (11-1, 0-1 UFC) vs. Israel Adesanya (11-0, 0-0 UFC)
Middleweights

Wilkinson was clinching up on the fence for the whole round, working for takedowns. He managed to get Adesanya down a few times but never able to keep him down and didn't do any damage. Neither guy did much on the feet although Adesanya did land a couple kicks from distance. 10-9 Wilkinson as he controlled the grappling for most of the round

Adesanya systematically destroyed Wilkinson in this round. Just took his time and landed shots from distance until it was clear that Wilkinson was hurt badly and then moved in for the kill. Even when it was clear Wilkinson was done, Adesanya was landing measured shots but landing hard and doing a ton of damage. Wilkinson's face was all bloody at the end and if the ref hadn't stopped it, he looked like he would've verbally submitted or tapped from strikes. Very impressive debut for Adesanya. 

Official result - Israel Adesanya (12-0) by TKO (punches) at 3:37 of the 2nd round

Adesanya showed a lot of charisma in his post-fight promo. Crowd was very into him as well. Brought up that 4 fighters turned down a fight with him and gave props to Wilkinson for taking the fight. Said he didn't feel pressure, that "pressure makes diamonds". Said he's the new dog in the yard and he just pissed all over the cage. Great lines and great delivery. 

> Damien Brown (17-11, 2-3 UFC) vs. Dong Hyun "Maestro" Kim (15-8-3, 2-2 UFC)-11 
Lightweights

The most effective strike for both guys was leg kicks. Kim was landing a lot of them early. Brown threw his first about 2 minutes in and dropped Kim but let him right up. His next one made Kim stagger a bit. Other than that, both guys were pretty much trading single shots the whole round. Kim may have been more active but Brown hurt Kim more with the two kicks. 10-9 Brown

Pretty boring round. Entirely on the feet. Kim was a lot more active than Brown and had more combinations for sure. Brown's most effective strike again was the leg kick but he didn't throw many of them. He did briefly drop Kim with a leg kick late in the round but that was all the damage he did. 10-9 Kim, 19-19 overall

Another boring round. Brown was definitely more agressive this round but was missing most of his punches. Kim, for most of the round, was just keeping his distance and trying to avoid getting hit but not throwing anything. He did land a nice punch combo right before the buzzer but this fight was bad. I had it 10-9 Brown and 29-28 Brown overall. 

Official result - Dong Hyun Kim (16-8-2) by split decision (29-28 x 2; 28-29)

PPV MAIN CARD | 10 PM ET/7 PM PT

> Tyson Pedro (#13, 6-1, 2-1 UFC) vs. Saparbek Safarov (8-1, 0-1 UFC)
Light Heavyweights

Pedro came out firing and clearly had the more dynamic striking so Safarov tried to take it to the ground. He got an early takedown but didn't do any damage and Pedro was able to get up. On the feet, Pedro was doing damage so Safarov went for another takedown. He got it but Pedro grabbed his arm for a Kimura and used it to sweep into top position. From there, he secured the arm and got the quick tap. Crowd loved it. 

Official result - Tyson Pedro (7-1) by submission (Kimura) at 3:54

Pedro made fun of his opponent in his post-fight interview, saying he has pretty good hips for a Dad-bod. He says he was injured coming in but wouldn't have missed this fight. Said he was going to go home and make love to his wife, drink a generous amount of beer and get himself on the Joe Rogan podcast. 

> Jake Matthews (11-3, 5-3 UFC) vs. Li Jingliang (14-4, 6-2 UFC)
Welterweights

Matthews looks a lot bigger than the last time we saw him and it's hard to believe he started his career as a lightweight. The round started very tentatively for both guys but when Matthews started throwing punches, it was clear that Li wanted nothing of his power. Matthews knocked him down with a punch combo and was all over him. He moved into mount and landed a ton of punches. It never really looked close to being stopped but Matthews was very dominant. 10-8 Matthews

Wild start to the round. Li hurt Matthews with a punch combo. Matthews got a takedown and secured a choke that was very tight. Li blatantly poked Matthews in the eye to get out of it to the point Matthews' eye was bleeding like crazy. Ref completely missed it. The rest of the round, Li was more active but was missing a lot of his strikes. Matthews looked like he was having a hard time seeing and was clearly tried by the end of the round. Close but 10-9 Matthews and 20-17 overall

Matthews got an early takedown but Li was right up. Matthews knocked Li down with a punch but Li was up immediately and ended up on top. Matthews was able to get to his feet. Matthews got another takedown but again Li was up quickly. Neither guy did a lot on the standup in the third but the knockdown and takedowns should take it for Matthews. 10-9 Matthews, 30-26 overall

Official result - Jake Matthews (12-3) by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26 x 2)

> Tai Tuivasa (8-0, 1-0 UFC) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3, 2-2 UFC)
Heavyweights

This was brutal. Tuivasa connected with his first punch combo 15 seconds in and proceeded to destroy Asker. Several times, Asker looked out of it but he stayed on his feet. Tuivasa was just relentless with elbows and punches to the head and Asker was clearly out on his feet. Ref could've stopped it several times but Asker was kind of fighting back. A punch/elbow combo from Tuivasa caused Asker to fall facefirst and the ref stepped in to stop it. 

Official result - Tui Tuivasa (9-0) by TKO (punches and elbows) at 2:18

Tuivasa says Australia is taking over. Wouldn't call anyone out but said he just wants to get paid. 

> Mark Hunt (#5, 13-11-1 1 NC, 8-5-1 1 NC UFC) vs. Curtis Blaydes (#9, 8-1 1 NC, 3-1 1 NC UFC)
Heavyweights

Hunt went over half the round before landing a strike but when he did, he rocked Blaydes badly. He followed up with a combo that almost finished Blaydes but he got a desparation takedown. Hunt got up quickly but Blaydes got another and stayed on top the rest of the round. He was doing ground and pound and got mount near the end so it was close but Hunt's flurry should take the round. 10-9 Hunt

Round started slow with Blaydes attempting a couple of takedowns but Hunt stopping them. Blaydes was throwing punches that were missing. Hunt was just keeping his distance. Hunt landed a punch combo but Blaydes followed up with a takedown and stayed on top the rest of the round. Both guys were landing punches on the ground but Blaydes' were harder and he was mixing in elbows at the end. 10-9 Blaydes, 19-19 overall

Blaydes just took Hunt down at will over and over again and did a lot of ground and pound when the fight was there. By the end of the fight, he had 10 takedowns. Crowd was hating this fight and Hunt was clearly frustrated but it was comlpetely dominant and an easy 10-8 Blaydes in my book and 29-27 overall

Official result - Curtis Blaydes (9-1) by unanimous decision (30-26 x 2; 29-27)

Crowd booed the hell out of the decision but it was more that they didn't like Blaydes and the fight cause there's no way Hunt won this fight. Blaydes said that he knows that Australia is behind their hero but he was here to do a job. He asked for a fight on the upcoming show in Chicago but didn't give a name. 

> Yoel Romero (#1, 13-2, 8-1 UFC) vs. Luke Rockhold (#2, 16-3, 6-2 UFC)
Interim UFC Middleweight Championship* (Romero missed weight by 2.7 pounds- only Rockhold can win the championship)

Very tentative start from both guys. Rockhold was throwing leg kicks early and Romero checked one of them and opened a cut on his shin that was bleeding badly. Strike count was 15-6 for Rockhold and most of them were leg kicks. 10-9 Rockhold

Romero opened with a flurry of punches, leaving Rockhold with a big mouse over his right temple. His shin still bleeding heavily as well. Romero controlled the round but it was again vewry tentative for both guys. Significant strikes in the round at one point were 17-6 for Romero. Rockhold had a nice jab combo at the end of the round. 10-9 Romero, 19-19 overall

Rockhold came out more aggressively, throwing a lot but not landing much. Romero landed an elbow to the temple that came in like a punch and knocked Rockhold out cold. He followed up with a vicious punch on the ground before the ref could stop it. 

Official result - Yoel Romero (14-2) by KO (elbow) at 1:48

Romero couldn't even walk after the fight, limping back to the stool and sitting for his post-fight promo. He went to Rockhold right after the fight was over and kissed him and Rockhold clearly didn't even know where he was. Romero said he was sorry for what happened to Robert Whitaker and he apologized for missing weight. That was his 7th KO, tied for 3rd in the division's history behind Thiago Santos and Anderson Silva.