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UFC/MMA News: Yoel Romero suffers broken leg in KO win over Luke Rockhold at UFC 221

Sudhir Bose
11 Feb 2018, 17:21 IST

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Yoel Romero's injury prevented him from staying on his feet after the fight was done

What's the story?

Yoel Romero upset former UFC Middleweight Champion and betting favorite Luke Rockhold by knocking him out in the third round of their fight despite suffering what he believes is a broken leg.

In case you didn't know...

The Cuban powerhouse was a late replacement after Rockhold's original opponent, Interim Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker, pulled out with a knee injury. With just four weeks to prepare for the fight, Romero did not meet the 185-pound weight limit and the title was taken out of the pot. But that didn't stop the "Soldier of God" from dominating the fight en route to his sixth third-round finish.

The heart of the matter

Luke Rockhold started off strong, repeatedly landing his trademark powerful kicks, one of which is what Romero believes broke his shin after he checked it. He told UFC's Megan Olivi the same in the post-fight backstage interview: "In the first round I took two kicks, and I’m pretty sure it broke my leg.”

The injury didn't slow Romero down one bit as he frequently lunged at Rockhold from the second round and dropped the former champ in the third round with an overhand left before finishing him on the ground.

Romero was actually hobbling when Bruce Buffer announced the results and couldn't stay on his feet for the post-fight octagon interview. He had an ice pack on his right shin when talking to Megan Olivi and it was mentioned that he was headed to the hospital to have the injury examined.

What's next?

Dana White said after the event that Romero will rematch Robert Whittaker for the 185 lbs belt. The two met at UFC 213, with Whittaker taking a unanimous decision. This gives Romero a windfall second title shot against a man he's already faced. The only question is when, because both are recovering from injuries.

Author's take

Even at 41 years old, Romero has proven that he is one of the most dangerous fighters in MMA and as a late replacement, his unpredictable style makes him all the more difficult to prepare for.

Not one to make the same mistake twice, Romero will look to go into the rematch with Whittaker as sharp as he can be. But the UFC's first Australian champion has momentum on his side, as well as the mental edge, having bested Romero once before. Their second tilt is an unmissable affair and if Romero wins, it could even lead to a trilogy.

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