Robert Whittaker.

Injury forces Robert Whittaker out of first title defense at UFC 221

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Welp, the UFC had to make some changes to their main event of UFC 221.

It was revealed early Saturday morning that UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker had to pull out of his first title defense against former champion Luke Rockhold in the main event of the upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) event.

The reason for his withdraw is due to an injury that has yet to be disclosed.

Now, Yoel Romero, who lost to Whittaker last April, will replace the champion and fight Rockhold for the interim title that will serve as the new main event.

Whittaker has reacted to the news by posting the following on his official Instagram account:

“I’m beyond disappointed that I’m unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia,” Whittaker said.

“I hope the fans enjoy what should be a great night of fights at UFC 221, and I look forward to a recovery as soon as possible that will have me back in the octagon to face the winner of the main event.”

UFC 221 is set to take place on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia.

The main card will air on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET while the preliminary card will air on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET and the promotion’s streaming service, UFC Fight Pass, at 6:45 p.m. ET.

Rockhold vs. Romero for the interim middleweight title will serve as the main event while Curtis Blaydes vs. Mark Hunt in a heavyweight bout will serve as the co-main event.

Rounding out the five bout card is Cyril Asker vs. Tai Tuivasa in a heavyweight bout, Li Jingliang vs. Jake Matthews in a welterweight bout, and Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov in a light heavyweight bout. Here is the updated card:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel Romero – for interim middleweight title

Curtis Blaydes vs. Mark Hunt

Cyril Asker vs. Tai Tuivasa

Li Jingliang vs. Jake Matthews

Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov


Damien Brown vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim

Israel Adesanya vs. Rob Wilkinson

Jeremy Kennedy vs. Alex Volkanovski

Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:45 p.m. ET)

Mizuto Hirota vs. Ross Pearson

Teruto Ishihara vs. Jose Quinonez

Daichi Abe vs. Luke Jumeau

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Dana White
Luke Rockhold

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