Whittaker to defend middleweight belt against Rockhold in UFC 221

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UFC 221: Robert Whittaker Vs Luke Rockhold

Bengaluru, December 8: The UFC confirm Robert Whittaker will defend the undisputed middle weight title for the first time against Luke Rockhold in UFC 221 which will be held in Perth Arena, Western Australia on February 10, 2018.

The announcement comes after middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre on Thursday (December 7) told the company he will vacate his world title immediately which led to the elevation of Whitaker from interim champion to undisputed champion.

St-Pierre informed the organization, "My fight at UFC 217 was one of the greatest nights of my life but I now need to take some time to focus on my health.

"Out of respect to the athletes and the sport, I don't want to hold up the division. I will be giving up my belt and once I'm healthy I look forward to working with the UFC to determine what's next in my career."

The five-round bout will be the first event held at Perth Arena, subject to approval from the Combat Sports Commission in Western Australia.

Whittaker, who fights out of Australia, has won his last eight fights in a row and won the interim title in July when he defeated Yoel Romero via unanimous decision.

Rockhold, the former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight champion, got back on track in September when he defeated Dave Branch. That fight marked Rockhold's first since he lost the UFC belt to Michael Bisping over a year ago.

Story first published: Friday, December 8, 2017, 8:09 [IST]
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