Yoel Romero to replace middleweight champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 221

  • Yoel Romero to replace middleweight champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 221

Yoel Romero to replace middleweight champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 221

"I've been ruled medically unable to compete and wont be able to defend on home soil".

According to UFC officials, per ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto, the local favorite has withdrawn from his scheduled UFC 221 bout with Luke Rockhold because of an undisclosed injury.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title hasn't dropped the interim tag after all.

Romero last fought and lost to Whittaker in a five-round contest that put Whittaker in the history books as Australia's first UFC champion. The new main event at UFC 221 will still have championship gold resting in the balance as Rockhold vs. Romero will fight for an interim strap with the victor facing Whittaker in a unification bout later in 2018.

Whittaker announced early Saturday morning that he will not compete in Perth, Australia due to a medical issue, instead, Luke Rockhold will now face Yoel Romero for the interim middleweight title at UFC 221.

In the short term, despite being well-tailored to the local audience, UFC 221 was a one-fight card for the rest of the world.

"All I can do is focus on getting healthy to come back better than ever". Customers who purchased tickets are eligible for a full refund.

Rockhold is coming off his first win since losing the middleweight belt to Michael Bisping at 199 in June of 2016.

Yoel Romero will take Whittaker's place in what will now become an interim title bout against Rockhold.

Romero was originally scheduled to take on David Branch on February 24 as part of UFC on Fox in Orlando, Florida.

UFC 221 will feature a title fight, but at what point will fans stop caring about interim titles, if they haven't already?