UFC News: Former Middleweight Champion loses to Nick Rodriguez at Polaris 12
Leading up to their main event bout at Polaris 12, Luke Rockhold had enough confidence in his grappling skills and was positive about winning against ADCC silver medalist Nick Rodriguez.
However, Nick proved him wrong in the cage as the numbers on the scorecard at the end of the fight was in his favor.
What happened in the Octagon
The majority of the bout saw both the fighters going toe to toe, with Rockhold looking for any opportunity of punch combinations or body locks, and Rodriguez avoiding them with deftness and searching for an opening for takedown.
He finally succeeded with around 9 minutes remaining in the fight and took Rockhold down to the mat in an enormous takedown attempt, and refused to let him get back up at any cost.
Wise and experienced, the former UFC and Strikeforce Middleweight Champion successfully avoided submission by managing to get into a bridge position from bottom. Before this, an involuntary headbutt cut open the area over Rockhold's right eye, for which the bout was paused. The fighter asked for some Vaseline to tend to himself.
Rodriguez continued to put pressure on Rockhold throughout the fight, and if that was not enough to earn him the victory, the late shot in the last few seconds that put his opponent back on the ground surely did the magic. However, the bout was not as action-packed as it promised to be, since it featured a former UFC Champion and an ADCC medalist.
Rockhold: It's just fun for me
In the post-fight interview, Rockhold had words of praise for his rival.
"I'm no stranger, I can play the bull or I can play the matador. I didn't have enough to keep up with him. Credit to him, the kid's tough... I tried to bait, I tried to give it, but the man did his homework. He comes from a good team, they know what to avoid and where to attack, so credit to him."
He also had apologies to make for the lack of action in the fight.
"I thought he would shoot more, I thought I could play more of a different game. I didn’t realize it would just be stuck on the feet and the kind of push-pull, sorry about that, but I wanted a little more action."
Despite the loss, Rockhold is not discouraged about Polaris. In fact, he says that is quite fun and refreshing for him, and a change of scene from all the "political bulls**t" of UFC.
"It’s just fun for me. Competition is a part of my life and this kind of lightens it up, takes me away from all the political bulls**t that you deal with in the UFC. There’s a lot more to it. This is just fun and it keeps that goal-oriented mindset."