The UFC has lost its main event for their return to Melbourne, Australia.
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported on Tuesday that former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold suffered an undisclosed injury, forcing him out of his November 26th (November 27th in Australia) rematch with Ronaldo Souza. There’s no word yet on whether or not Jacare will remain on the card, but it looks like he will not. Meanwhile, Jacare’s manager Gilberto Faria told MMA Fighting that the only fight of interest to them is a title shot vs. Michael Bisping.
“Michael Bisping is running from ‘Jacare.'” Faria said. “He is so scared of him. He’d rather fight someone like Dominick Cruz, who I would put my money on, by the way.”
Rockhold (15-3) lost his UFC title to Bisping in a shocking 1st round KO at UFC 199. It snapped a five-fight winning streak, which saw him finish all of his opponents during that span. Dating back to his Strikeforce days in 2010, this is the 5th time that he’s withdrawn from a booked fight due to injury. Jacare (23-4, 1 NC) rebounded from a close UFC 194 loss to Yoel Romero by smashing Vitor Belfort at UFC 198. His previous fight vs. Rockhold saw him lose his Strikeforce middleweight title by unanimous decision.
The UFC Melbourne co-main event is between middleweights Derek Brunson and Robert Whittaker, and it’s a fight that could easily be elevated to five-round main event status. We’ll wait and see if that’s what the UFC opts to do, given that it’s only 3 1⁄2 weeks away from fight night.