Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Robert Whittaker injured; Romero vs. Rockhold now headlines UFC 221

Robert Whittaker injured; Romero vs. Rockhold now headlines UFC 221

Whittaker, born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, was scheduled to face Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221 in Perth on February 11 but he suffered several significant injuries in training.

Whittaker's injury was first reported by ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Friday with additional news that Yoel Romero will be stepping up to face Rockhold instead.

The middleweight division had recently rid itself of interim chaos as Whittaker became the undisputed champion when Georges St-Pierre officially vacated the title following his victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 217.

Whittaker first won the interim title in July of past year, elevated to the undisputed champion after newly crowned king Georges St-Pierre - who defeated then-champ Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in November - elected to vacate the throne after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Yoel Romero has stepped up to take on Rockhold.

Whittaker's bout in Perth is no more. Image Getty
Whittaker's bout in Perth is no more. Image Getty

Whittaker was an obvious choice to headline the event, as he is the first Australia-based champion in UFC history.

"I would like to apologize to all my supporters and fans of MMA for not being able to put on the show you deserve", Whittaker said in an Instagram post on Saturday morning. This card meant so much to me and I'm devastated for not being able to fight.

Romero last competed in July of 2017, when he lost a unanimous decision to Whittaker over five rounds in the main event of UFC 213. "All the best to Yoel and Luke for their fight and I'll be waiting".

Romero was originally set to face David Branch at UFC Orlando on February 24, that fight has since been canceled and it unsure as of yet if Branch will receive a replacement opponent, or if he will be removed from that card.

UFC 221 has just suffered a major loss.

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