Headlined by Robert Whittaker and Luke Rockhold, “UFC 221: Whittaker vs Rockhold” will take place at the Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia on Feb. 11, 2018. Aside from the main event, two other matches have been confirmed so far.
The “UFC 221” event was originally for the UFC Middleweight Championship unification between reigning champion Georges St-Pierre and Whittaker, the interim champion. However, the reigning champion has announced his temporary retirement due to his colitis diagnosis.
Rockhold is a former UFC Middleweight Champion. He won the title by knocking out then champion Chris Weidman in the third round at “UFC 194: Aldo vs McGregor” at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Dec. 12, 2015.
A rematch between Rockhold and Weidman was scheduled on June 2, 2016 at “UFC 199” but the latter pulled out on May 17 with an undisclosed injury. Michael Bisping replaced Weidman and the event was titled “UFC 199: Rockhold vs Bisping 2” since it was a rematch.
The first time Rockhold and Bisping headlined a UFC event was on Nov. 8, 2014 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia. Rockhold submitted Bisping via guillotine choke at 0:57 of Round 2 at “UFC Fight Night 55.”
At “UFC 199: Rockhold vs Bisping 2,” Bisping had his redeptive win. He defeated Rockhold via knockout via punches at 3:36 of Round 1.
After defeating Rockhold, Bisping defended the UFC Middleweight Champion title through another rematch. For the second time, Bisping faced former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Dan Henderson at “UFC 204: Bisping vs Henderson 2” on Oct. 8, 2016.
On July 11, 2009, Henderson defeated Bisping via knockout via punch at 3:20 of Round 2 at “UFC 100” at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. But at “UFC 204: Bisping vs Henderson 2,” Bisping won the fight via unanimous decision after five five-minute rounds.
Bisping held the UFC Middleweight Champion title until Nov. 4. He lost to St-Pierre via technical submission via rear-naked choke at 4:23 of Round 3 at “UFC 217: Bisping vs St-Pierre” at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
The other “UFC 221: Whittaker vs Rockhold” matches that have been confirmed are the flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Ben Nguyen and the light heavyweight bout between Tyson Pedro and Saparbek Sarafov. Meanwhile, the UFC has yet to release an official statement on St-Pierre vacating the UFC Middleweight Champion title.