UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker's homecoming fight in Australia is not going to happen.
As a result, Rockhold will instead face Yoel Romero for an interim title fight at the Perth Arena on February 10th. Their meeting had been declared an interim title fight due to a lack of championship activity in the division and amidst confusion surrounding Bisping's on again, off again match-up with St-Pierre.
It's a major blow to the UFC's 221 pay-per-view event, which is scheduled to take place in Perth, Australia.
"I've been ruled medically unable to compete and won't be able to defend on home soil". "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 victor of the main event".
In the short term, despite being well-tailored to the local audience, UFC 221 was a one-fight card for the rest of the world.
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Rockhold is coming off his first win since losing the middleweight belt to Michael Bisping at 199 in June of 2016.
Romero last fought and lost to Whittaker in a five-round contest that put Whittaker in the history books as Australia's first UFC champion.
33-year-old Rockhold, meanwhile, defeated Branch via TKO back in September.
A former Cuban Olympic silver-medalist wrestler, Romero was scheduled to face Branch at a UFC Fight Night event on February 24. In the weeks that followed St-Pierre's triumphant return to the cage after more than four years away from the Octagon, "GSP" announced a medical condition would prevent him from competing for a lengthy stretch. The victor will meet Whittaker in a title unification bout.