Romero hammers Rockhold in Perth

Yoel Romero pulled off a spectacular knockout of Luke Rockhold in their interim middleweight bout at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia on Sunday.

Despite the win, the 40-year old Cuban was denied the interim title after failing to make weight by two pounds a day earlier, but his strong showing means he will get a shot at the title sooner rather than later.

After a cagey first round that saw both fighters trade kicks and blows from a distance, Romero caught Rockhold early in the second round.

The Californian looked to be in trouble but managed to wrap up the Cuban and recover before the two resumed the pattern from round one.

The third round saw more of the same, the duo duking it out at arms length before Romero suddenly unleashed a huge overhand left that caught Rockhold flush on the chin and sent him crashing to the canvas, before following it up with a vicious left uppercut as the referee jumped in to stop the fight.

Romero’s win would seem to put him line for a shot at the title when champion Robert Whittaker recovers from the illness and injury that saw him drop out of the fight against Rockhold.

In other action, UFC veteran and Aussie favourite Mark Hunt was beaten via a unanimous decision by Curtis Blaydes in their heavyweight contest.

Hunt started strongly and looked to be on course for a win after rocking Blaydes with some heavy shots in the opener.

But the 26-year old American played it wisely and changed things up, taking Hunt down to the canvas, where the two spent most of the remainder of the fight as Blaydes superior fitness eventually told, the judges scoring it 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 in the US fighter’s favour.

“Hey he came out like I know he would, swinging for the fences, trying to knock me out,” Blaydes said afterwards. “I recovered after about three seconds, when I got the takedown.”