This morning, just weeks after Georges St-Pierre vacated the UFC middleweight title he ripped from Michael Bisping at UFC 217 and Robert Whittaker was promoted from interim titlist to true champion, the promotion has revealed that it will toss yet another interim belt into the 185-pound mix at UFC 221 in Perth, Western Australia next month.
Finally, Friday's news confirms two additional points in we still can not have nice things in MMA, and the UFC's love for interim belts continues to roll strong.
"I'm beyond disappointed that I'm unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia", Whittaker said speaking to ESPN. The new main event at UFC 221 will still have championship gold resting in the balance as Rockhold vs. Romero will fight for an interim strap with the victor facing Whittaker in a unification bout later in 2018.
Regardless, Rockhold will continue his climb back towards the title by facing Romero, who was scheduled to take on David Branch on February 24, for the interim title.
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Because of the change in main event, fans will be able to request full refunds of purchased tickets for UFC 221.
Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has been forced out of the main event due to an undisclosed injury.
The show must go on however on and now Cuban powerhouse Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will step in as Whittaker's replacement to fight Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) for the interim-title. The match will be for the interim title, and will no doubt follow up with a unification match as soon as Whittaker has healed. Those wins included victories over Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza and Lyoto Machida.