UFC 221 went down tonight (Saturday, February 10, 2018) from the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia, and was headlined by an interim middleweight title battle between Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero.
Romero would win by his trademark third-round TKO, but missing weight cost him the interim middleweight title and a bonus. Instead, Performance of the Night bonuses went to kickboxing newcomer Israel Adesanya and Jussier Formiga.
Adesanya took care of business against Rob Wilkinson. The former Glory kickboxer had to endure a tough first round in which Wilkinson pressed his wrestling advantage as much as he could. But he tired himself out in the process and failed to slow down “The Stylebender”. Adesanya went to work breaking Wilkinson down in round two with a barrage of close quarters strikes that eventually halted the contest. Adesanya will go home $50,000 richer for his efforts.
In the opening FS1 prelim of the evening, perennial contender Formiga turned back yet another promising flyweight prospect in Ben Nguyen. A back-and-forth fight played out over the first ten minutes that saw Nguyen enjoy success on the feet and Formiga have his moments on the mat. Formiga permanently turned the tide in round three when he floored Nguyen with a spinning back fist. The Brazilian jumped on the dazed Nguyen and cinched the rear-naked choke finish moments later. Formiga will take home an extra $50K for his efforts.
The Fight of the Night played out between Australian prospect Jake Matthews and action fighter extraordinaire Jingliang Li. The fight was marred by seemingly blatant first-round eye-gouge from Li as he tried to fend off a guillotine from Matthews. The referee failed to notice it and allowed the action to continue. Matthews scored with power punches and takedowns on the defensively suspect but ever-dangerous Li throughout their encounter and wound up on the right side of a unanimous decision. Both welterweights will wake up $50,000 richer for their efforts.
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