Yoel Romero knocked out Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold on Saturday. It was a bout for the UFC Interim Middleweight Championship, or at least it was for Rockhold.
During weigh-ins on Friday, Yoel Romero was unable to make weight for the bout, making the middleweight title picture even more ridiculous. Going into Saturday, only Rockhold was eligible to get the interim belt.
Romero landed a massive left hand over the top on the temple that sent Rockhold down, and then delivered another underhand that put his lights out in the third round.
Robert Whittaker was originally expected to face Georges St-Pierre for the title, but St-Pierre vacated it and Whittaker, the interim champion, became the undisputed champion. Whittaker was then supposed to face Rockhold in a title bout, but had to pull out with injury, necessitating an interim bout between Romero and Rockhold.
While many talked about a potential knockout in the penultimate bout between Curtis Blaydes and Mark Hunt, that was a rather ho-hum fight in which the former out-wrestled the latter en route to a very clear unanimous decision win.
Hunt, 43, has now lost two of his last three fights.
The fireworks came just before that bout though, when two more unknown heavyweights in Tai Tuivasa and Cyril Asker battled it out.
They didn’t battle for long as Tuivasa, the more inexperienced of the two, rushed Asker and overwhelmed him with heavy, sloppy strikes. He got the TKO stoppage just 2:18 into the first round. Tuivasa is now 7-0 as a professional, with all wins by knockout, including two with the UFC.
To kick off the main card, light heavyweights Tyson Pedro and Saparbek Safarov went just one round before the latter was finished by a kimura submission. It was a very impressive submission, with Pedro guarding against multiple instances of Safarov trying to roll out. Eventually, Pedro even hooked his leg around Safarov’s head to force the tap.
Below you can find full results for the card, including prelims.
UFC 221 full fight card results
Middleweight: Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold via KO at 1:28 of Round 3
Heavyweight: Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker via TKO (punches and elbows) at 2:18 of Round 1
Welterweight: Jake Matthews def. Li Jingliang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
Light Heavyweight: Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (kimura) at 3:54 of Round 1
Lightweight: Dong Hyun Kim def. Damien Brown via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Middleweight: Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson via TKO (knees an dpunches) at 3:37 of Round 2
Featherweight: Alexander Volkanovski def. Jeremy Kennedy via TKO (punches and elbows) at 4:57 of Round 2
Flyweight: Jussier Formiga def. Ben Nguyen via technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:43 of Round 3
Lightweight: Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Bantamweight: José Alberto Quiñónez def. Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Welterweight: Luke Kumeau def. Daichi Abe via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27)