#LFA 36 #Garry Tonon #AXS TV Fights #ACB 83 #Conor McGregor #Iron Will #Sean O'Malley #Khabib Nurmagomedov #Amir Aliakbari #Tony Ferguson #UFC 223 #Cris Cyborg #Fight Night London #Max Holloway #Invicta FC 28

Reasons To Watch UFC 221

Unlike other countries where it is still getting a foothold in the cultural consciousness, MMA is by far and away the most popular combat sport down under, and one of the nation's most popular overall. An early version of MMA called "All-in,” borne of jiu-jitsu demonstrations, was popular nationwide even before the 1920s.

The Aussie love for fighting alone would be grounds enough for a major Pay-Per-View by the biggest MMA promotion in the world, but as it turns out, the case for the UFC to go down under is much deeper.

Here are the reasons to watch UFC 221: Rockhold vs Romero.

A Living Legend in Action

<a href='../fighter/mark-hunt'>Mark Hunt</a> punches <a href='../fighter/Derrick-Lewis'>Derrick Lewis</a> during the <a href='../event/UFC-Silva-vs-Irvin'>UFC Fight Night </a>event in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC) Veteran Mark Hunt is fighting in the co-main event, and to hear him tell it, it may be one of his last three fights.

At 43, he's already been in the game longer than most would dare to dream, beating the likes of Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Filipovic back in their PRIDE heyday, and still bringing enough to the Octagon in 2018 to be the UFC's fifth ranked heavyweight.

Even his opponent, No. 9 ranked Curtis Blaydes, is humbled by the chance to face "Super Samoan", likening Hunt's tenure in MMA to that of NBA legends like Michael Jordan or Charles Barkley.

“I can already see it now, me slipping an uppercut and in my head thinking, ‘Oh my God, I just slipped Mark Hunt’s uppercut.’" Blaydes recently told MMAjunkie, explaining that a match with Hunt feels like an acknowledgment of his own skills.

Hunt has named Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic and Fabricio Werdum as opponents he'd like to face before he calls it a day. But first comes Blaydes on Pay-Per-View in Kiwi-friendly Perth. If 2018 is truly the last year we get to see him fight (and fight at a high level, no less), let's all cherish it and just enjoy the ride.

Hunger and revenge in the middleweight division

When Robert Whittaker was ruled medically ineligible to participate in the original main event of UFC 221, it was a blow not only to the Aussie fans who were amped to see their first Australia-based UFC champ defend his strap, but also to Luke Rockhold who has been literally aching to reclaim the belt since Michael Bisping dealt him one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

Similarly stinging from his own recent defeat (against Whittaker, no less) No. 1 contender Yoel Romero was not only a logical replacement, but one that makes for an excellent main event matchup.

Fighting for the interim belt and the next shot at Whittaker, Rockhold and Romero are a yin and yang of wrestling and striking power. While Romero holds the edge on the ground and Rockhold on the feet, neither are to be underestimated in either aspect of the game. In particular, six of Romero's last eight wins came by KO.

With George St-Pierre vacating the middleweight belt just a month after winning it, Rockhold and Romero know their ultimate goal is closer than ever, and only one of them will come away with a shot at being undisputed. Expect that hunger to be reflected in their performances for this one.

RELATED: UFC 221 Countdown |  Jimmy Smith Previews Hunt vs Blaydes

Introducing The Stylebender

One of the newest additions to the UFC roster arrives with some well-earned hype. The Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya has 11 knockouts in his professional career...in just 11 fights.

Fighting out of New Zealand, Adesanya learned to fight out of the practical need to defend himself. A self-described runt in his youth, he says he was bullied mercilessly, and while he didn't ever envision becoming a fighter, his skills in the cage were too natural to be ignored.

And just like he had to earn the respect of those bullies, Adesanya will have to earn the respect of UFC audiences who care little for hype. His promotion debut comes against Rob Wilkinson in the Perth prelims. Wilkinson carries with him an 11-1 professional record and a penchant for finishing fights, to say nothing of his homeland advantage.

But having recently cornered gym-mate and countryman Dan Hooker at UFC 219, Adesanya doesn't sound worried. Speaking to the NZ Herald, he says of the experience "...I made the walk behind him and realized I've done this before…this is just another show – different cage, same energy."

Aussies, Aussies everywhere.

The UFC's Australian roster is as menacing and formidable as nearly any other country's, and a huge sampling of that roster will be on display in Perth. Aside from the aforementioned Rob Wilkinson, Tai Tuivasa brings his undefeated record back to the Octagon following a thrilling flying-knee KO of Rashad Coulter back in November. Jake "The Celtic Kid" Matthews gets his second consecutive homeland bout following his November win at Fight Night Sydney. Known to make the Octagon walk to Mariah Carey, hot light heavyweight prospect Tyson Pedro looks to avenge the only loss of his career when he faces Saparbek Safarov to kick off the Perth main card. Damien "Beatdown" Brown will look to end the winning streak of the "Maestro" Dong Hyun Kim. And finally, Alexander Volkanovski, who hasn't lost a bout since 2013, will take on undefeated Canadian Jeremy Kennedy during the FS1 prelims.

Laughing and carrying on at UFC 221 media day, the Aussie fighters displayed a comradery and kinship that was visibly deeper than merely being born in the same region.

Tai Tuivasa, in particular, has spoken frequently of what he calls the ‘Poly Takeover’, where Polynesian athletes of all sports, particularly MMA, are making their name, despite their relatively small proportion to the world population. “It’s real” he told me, reminding everyone that “Max Holloway, Mark Hunt and Robert Whittaker” fall under that category.
For the non-believers, these fighters relish the chance to show what they mean this Saturday night.

Steve Latrell is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TheUFSteve

Watch Past Fights

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.


Show Comments

Related News

10 reasons to watch UFC on FOX 28, where all-out war is all but guaranteed

  • 29 days ago

Here are 10 reasons to watch UFC on FOX 28, where you can expect fireworks among Jeremy Stephens, Josh Emmett, Mike Perry, and Max Griffin. read news >>

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 127 with heavyweight title stakes in London

  • 8 days ago

Check out 10 reasons to watch Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 127 card in London with Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov in the main event. read news >>

10 reasons to watch UFC 222, with Cyborg and some much-needed young blood

  • 22 days ago

Dominant champ Cris Cyborg sits atop the UFC 222 card, but the event also features some much-needed young blood for the promotion. read news >>

Jon Anik: Nate Diaz a top-five UFC pay-per-view draw without Conor McGregor

  • 16 days ago

UFC play-by-play voice Jon Anik thinks Nate Diaz is a big draw – even without Conor McGregor as an opponent. read news >>

The 6 Biggest Busts in UFC History

  • 16 hours ago

As the premiere brand in mixed martial arts, the UFC is the home to the best fighters in the world. With very few exceptions, their roster has the absolute top talent in the sport and its depth is ab read news >>

Alexander Volkov Lays Out Fabricio Werdum (UFC London Results & Highlights) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 7 days ago

Check out highlights from the biggest win of Alexander Volkov's career, as he laid out Fabricio Werdum at UFC Fight Night 127 on Saturday in London. read news >>

How to watch UFC Fight Night 127 today: Fight card, start time, online results and where to stream

  • 7 days ago

The UFC is back in England today with UFC Fight Night 127. Here’s how to watch. read news >>

Alexander Volkov: 'This Was the Biggest Win of My Career' | MMAWeekly.com

  • 7 days ago

(Courtesy of UFC) Alexander Volkov knew that fighting Fabricio Werdum at UFC Fight Night 127 on Saturday in London wasn't going to be an easy fight, and it wasn't. Aside from Werdum being a former UF read news >>

Daily Debate: Should Ronda Rousey's MMA accomplishments earn her instant respect in the WWE?

  • 28 days ago

Ronda Rousey was once the biggest star in the UFC, but has left that world behind in favor of the WWE. What type of respect comes with her? read news >>

UFC 222's 'Thrill and Agony': Reaction of Frankie Edgar's devastated corner tough to watch

  • 16 days ago

Frankie Edgar’s cornermen were as stunned as anyone to see their fighter knocked out for the first time this past Saturday. read news >>

'Nowhere to Hide' for Tony Ferguson, Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223

  • 18 days ago

With one big pay-per-view in the books, the world already is looking ahead a month to the next one. read news >>

Jeremy Stephens Cashes In With Biggest Payday at UFC on FOX 28 in Orlando | MMAWeekly.com

  • 22 days ago

Jeremy Stephens earned a vicious knockout and the biggest paycheck at UFC on FOX 28 from Orlando, Fla. this past weekend. Stephens finished Josh Emmett — albeit under somewhat controversial circumsta read news >>

UFC Strikes Deal with Amazon for Pay-Per-View Broadcasts Starting with UFC 222 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 24 days ago

The UFC is going to Amazon. On Wednesday, a deal was announced that will see UFC pay-per-view cards air on Amazon starting with this weekend's UFC 222 show as the first on the streaming service. Amaz read news >>

UFC 223 Early Preview: What Are the Biggest and Best Fights Set for Brooklyn?

  • 19 days ago

UFC 223, the biggest MMA event of the spring, is approaching quickly—and it's worth getting excited about. While many recent UFC pay-per-views have relied heavily on the novelty of seeing up-and-come read news >>

UFC 223 bout order set with two title fights, Paul Felder-Al Iaquinta opener on pay-per-view

  • 15 days ago

The bout order is set for the UFC’s return to Brooklyn in April, though the lineup may still be in flux. read news >>

Cris Cyborg Explains Why She Decided to Save the Day and Fight at UFC 222 | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 days ago

Cris Cyborg details the reasons behind stepping up on short notice to fill a main event slot at UFC 222 in Las Vegas read news >>

Search for:

Related Videos

Trending News

Top News