Luke Rockhold has confirmed to Brett Okamoto that the rematch with fellow former champion Chris Weidman is finalised. As previously reported, the bout is set for the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden, November 3rd.
Rockhold apparently needed to resolve a contract issue with the UFC before the bout could be agreed.
The prestigious arena will see something of a middleweight tourney. Three other pivotal fights take place on the card with Yoel Romero facing rising star Paulo Costa; Israel Adesenya taking on Derek Brunson and David Branch vs ‘Jacare’ Souza.
Chief amongst these contendership bouts is the Rockhold/Weidman rematch, it will no doubt serve as the main event. The winner will likely face the champion in the near future.
Robert Whittaker will first defend his 185 pound title against Kelvin Gastellum in 2019. The two will coach opposite each other on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Perhaps the number of big middleweight bouts at UFC 230 is an attempt to get some movement back in the divison. Rockhold and Weidman, two of the divisions biggest names have been sidelined due to injury.
Not only that, Yoel Romero has held the title challenger spot hostage for some time. Gastellum is a fresh face in the title picture and the promotion want to continue trending in that direction.
It is true that Rockhold and Weidman are no strangers to the middleweight belt and we do want to see new blood in the title picture. However, it could be argued that the winner of that bout deserves the nod more than anybody. They are a special case.
Chris Weidman beat a rogue’s gallery during his time as champion. He dropped the belt back in 2015. He has never received a title shot since.
Rockhold was supposed to face Whittaker in February. When Whittaker was forced to pull-out, Rockhold faced Romero for the interim title. Romero beat Rockhold and came into the contest north of the weight limit.
The middleweight bouts on this card are great for the division. You could mix and match the opponents to make any number of interesting fights in the future.
UFC 230 also sees a huge lightweight clash between Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier in the co-main. A big night is ahead for MMA fans.
Source: Brett Okamoto