Saturday, February 10, 2018
UFC 221 Preview
Okay MMA betting buffs, you’re going to be treated to what looks like another thrilling event when UFC 221 goes down live from Perth, Australia on February 11.
While the UFC 221 card doesn’t feature many of the marquee fighters that we’ve seen in some of the most recent UFC cards, it is headlined by what should be a thrilling showdown for the interim middleweight title when No. 1 contender Yoel Romero takes on No. 2 contender Luke Rockhold. The winner of this intriguing matchup will face Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout after the interim champ was forced to pull out of the event on January 13th because of an injury.
Okay, with that said, let’s get down to business with a look at the five main card outs that make up UFC 221.
Yoel Romero (12-2) vs. Luke Rockhold (16-3)
The top-ranked contender there is, Yoel “The Soldier of God” Romero is a 40-year-old monster that hails from Cuba and stands 6-feet tall with a 73.5-inch reach. Romero had won eight straight fights via KO or TKO until losing to Robert Whittaker at UFC 213 via unanimous decision back in July.
The second-ranked Rockhold, is 33-years-old and hails from California while standing 6-3 with a 77-inch reach. Rockhold bounced back from a KO (punches) loss against Michael Bisping at UFC 199 in June of 2016 to beat David Branch via submission (punches) at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch in September.
Without making a pick on this bout, I’m just gonna’ say that Luke Rockhold had better bring his ‘A’ game because Yoel Romero just looks like the kind of guy that you just don’t want to meet in a dark alley.
Mark Hunt (13-11) vs. No. 9 Curtis Blaydes (8-1)
The 43-year-old Hunt, a New Zealand native that is the No. 5 heavyweight contender, stands 5-10 with a 74-inch reach is coming off a fourth-round TKO (punches) win over Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. lewis in June that came on the heels of his third round KO (knees) loss against Alistair Overeem at UFC 209 in March. He’s going to have his hands full with ninth-ranked contender Curtis Blaydes. The much younger, 26-year-old Chicago native has only lost once in his career and enters this bout coming off a second round TKO (doctor stoppage) win over Oleksiy Oliynyk at UFC 217 in November.
Tai Tuivasa (8-0) vs. Cyril Asker (9-3)
24-tear-old Australian, Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa made his UFC debut in stunning fashion by knocking out Rashad Coulter with a flying knee at UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Tybura in November. he’ll look to remain undefeated when he takes on 32-year-old Frenchman Cyril “Silverback” Asker in their heavyweight affair. Asker beat Yaozong Hu in November, but is just 2-2 over his last four fights and looks like he’s going to have his hands completely full with the young and clearly hungry Tuivasa.
Jake Matthews (12-3) vs. Li Jingliang (14-4)
23-year-old Aussie native Jake Matthews snapped a two-fight losing streak by beating Bojan Velickovic in November, but got a split decision win, so he clearly didn’t dominate. 29-year-old China native Li Jingliang is on a nice roll, having won four straight fights coming into his lightweight matchup against Matthews, including a thrilling Performance of the Night, first round TKO (punches) win over Zak Ottow at UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Gastelum in November. Jingliang won three times in 2017 alone.
Tyson Pedro (6-1) vs. Saparbek Safarov (8-1)
26-year-old Australian and No. 13 contender Tyson Pedro was on the wrong end of a unanimous decision loss against Ilir Latifi at UFC 215 in September that snapped his six-fight winning streak. 31-year-old Russian Saparbek Safarov lost via KO to Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night in December of 2016 via second round TKO in a Fight of the Night outing. Pedro will look to potentially move into the top 10 in the lightweight heavyweight division.
Yoel Romero vs Luke Rockhold
Yoel Romero scored an impressive knockout of Luke Rockhold in the main event of UFC 221 on Saturday night, the sort which reminded everyone he’s one of mixed martial arts’ most ruthless finishers.
Mark Hunt vs Curtis Blaydes
Curtis Blaydes grinds out win over Mark Hunt. On the strength of nine takedowns, the Elevation fighter scored the biggest victory of his career. The judges’ scores were a pair of 30-26s and 29-27 for a unanimous decision.
Tai Tuivasa vs Cyril Asker
Tai Tuivasa clobbers Cyril Asker. Tuivasa wasted little time starting the onslaught, landing with heavy hands and bruising elbows to the head. Credit Asker’s toughness, but he might have been too tough for his own good, as he absorbed a couple dozen of these blows and stayed standing.
Jake Matthews vs Li Jingliang
Jake Matthews survives foul, beats Li Jingliang. But that wasn’t going to stop the young Australian welterweight from earning a victory in his homeland. Matthews got down and dirty and outslugged Jingliang to earn a unanimous decision at UFC 211 in Perth, Australia. The judges’ scores were 29-28 and a pair of 30-26s.
Tyson Pedro vs Saparbek Safarov
Tyson Pedro submits Saparbek Safarov in opening round.The Sydney-based light heavyweight finished the bout at 3:57 of the opening round Saturday night with a beautifully done Kimura, as he improved his record to 7-1.
Pedro and Safarov traded blows in the standup for most of the opening round, with Safarov doing his best to turn the bout into a grappling contest. They jostled for postiion along the fence when Pedro made a sweet sweep into the Kimura. Safarov rolled with it, but Pedro swung his leg over Safarov’s head to isolate the arm, leaving Safarov no choice but to tap.
*Fights labeled as "may not be broadcast" are scheduled to take place before the live broadcast begins. These pre-recorded fights are inserted into the broadcast if time permits. However, due to broadcast time constraints some of these undercard bouts may not be seen on a broadcast. These additional bout can be found as bonus footage on the event DVD.