Whittaker Out, Romero In for UFC 221
UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker has been removed from the main event of UFC 221 in his home country of Perth, Australia due to an undisclosed injury.
Luke Rockhold, who was scheduled to challenge Whittaker at the event, will now face Yoel Romero in the headline bout for the interim title.
“I’m beyond disappointed that I’m unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia,” Whittaker said in a statement to the media. “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.”
Whittaker defeated Romero for the interim UFC Middleweight Title in the main event of UFC 213 this past July. He was promoted to undisputed champion last month after Georges St Pierre vacated the title due to a battle with colitis.
Romero, in his first bout since the July loss, was scheduled to face David Branch at UFC on FOX on Feb. 24. Consequently, that bout has been scrapped with Romero stepping in for Whittaker.
In his most recent bout, Rockhold defeated Branch back at a September UFC Fight Night event.