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UFC 221: Romero vs. Rockhold PPV card live results, discussion, play-by-play

Live, blow-by-blow updates for the UFC 221 pay-per-view card, including the interim middleweight title fight between Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero.

UFC 221 Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Join Bloody Elbow tonight (Saturday, February 10th) for live results, discussion, and round-by-round scoring and commentary for UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.

Former Strikeforce and UFC champ Luke Rockhold takes on Yoel Romero in the main event, but Romero missing weight means Rockhold is the only one who can win the belt. Romero also lost 30% of his purse to Rockhold in the ensuing negotiations. Heavyweight legend Mark Hunt battles rising contender Curtis Blaydes in the co-main event.

Roudning out the main card are heavyweights Tai Tuivasa and Cyril Asker, welterweights Jake Matthews and Li Jingliang, and light heavyweights Tyson Pedro and Saparbek Safarov. Live results and play-by-play for the pay-per-view broadcast kicks off at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.

Check out this week’s MMA Vivisection for predictions, analysis and betting odds on the each matchup.

The main card fight lineup is as follows:


Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold - Interim Middleweight Championship

Round 1 - Rockhold starts with a leg kick, then shows him the front kick to the body, and another leg kick, but Romero checked that. Romero misses with the left hand. Luke goes with a thigh kick. Rockhold having success with those leg kicks, as Romero returns fire with an oblique kick. Luke now deals with Romero’s leg kicks, and the Cuban throws another fastball of a left hand. Rockhold standing right in front of Romero with a minute to go. Slow-paced fight thus far. Jab by Rockhold as Romero continues to be patient. Rockhold throws another jab and misses with the left as time expires. 10-9 Rockhold.

Round 2 - Rockhold’s left shin is bleeding because of one of the times Romero checked his leg kicks. Romero blitzes Rockhold right out of the gate and is attacking heavily to the body, and he fires off some power shots upstairs. Rockhold is still standing but Romero is getting off some strong punches. Head kick by Rockhold is blocked. Blood on the right side of Rockhold’s forehead. Nary a hint of a takedown attempt from either guy. Romero jabbing to the... thigh? Yeah. Romero again bursts forward with big punches that catch Rockhold. Yoel just threw a hammerfist to the leg... seriously. Body jab by Rockhold. Romero threatens with an uppercut and Rockhold retreats before it can land. Sharp left hand scores for Luke. Rockhold doubles up on the jab. Three more jabs by Rockhold in quick succession. Rockhold ending the round nicely but I still give it to Romero. 19-19.

Round 3 - Rockhold begins the midway point of this title fight with more jabbing, which looks to be his best weapon. He follows the jab with a leg kick. Rockhold continues to find a home for that jab from southpaw stance. Romero jabs to the midsection and then leaps into a right hook that doesn’t land. Big left hand by Romero and Rockhold goes down! Next left hand Romero throws knocks Rockhold completely out! Third Round Romero strikes again!

Official result - Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold by KO (punches) at 1:48 of round 3, but doesn’t win the interim middleweight title due to missing weight


Mark Hunt vs. Curtis Blaydes - Heavyweights

Round 1 - Body kick by Blaydes. Nice left hand by Blaydes in a fiery but brief exchange. Chopping right hand connects for Hunt. Takedown by Blaydes from way out and he gets it. Hunt gets out from underneath and is back to his feet, much to the crowd’s delight. Blaydes gets wobbled by a right hand! And another shot hurts him! Down goes Blaydes momentarily and now he’s back up. Huge takedown for Blaydes to stem the onslaught of punches by Hunt. Now Hunt is on his way back up, only for Blaydes to get another takedown. Blaydes in half guard and landing some ground strikes. Blaydes is in full mount, then takes the back, but there isn’t enough time to do much else. 10-9 Hunt.

Round 2 - Blaydes comes out looking for the takedown right away and Hunt is doing his best to stay on his feet. Hunt breaks free from Blaydes’ grasp. Left hook nearly lands for Hunt, as the crowd audibly gasps. Blaydes is throwing from way out of Hunt’s range and not landing anything. Hunt not throwing too much. Leg kick from Blaydes. Hunt shrugs off another takedown. Good jab from Blaydes, Hunt attacks but gets taken down. Blaydes presses his forearm against Hunt’s throat. He’s looking to pass to side control but Hunt won’t let him. Blaydes elbows the side of Hunt’s ribcage. More elbows from from the top, this time onto Hunt’s skull. These are some damaging shots by Blaydes and he’s got this round in the bag, as he does wind up in side control. 19-19.

Round 3 - Immediate shot from Blaydes and Hunt is down. Hunt back up, then down again with authority. Blaydes advances to full mount and with 4:30 or thereabouts left in the fight. Effective ground-and-pound by Blaydes, as the pro-Hunt crowd boos. Blaydes thought about going for an americana but bailed out of it, and is in Hunt’s half guard. Hunt in danger of giving up his back, as he takes some head shots while against the fence. Mark is up on his feet and then gets lateral dropped, taking the wind out of the sails of the crowd. Hunt takes some knees to the thigh, Blaydes puts Mark back down just when it looked as if Hunt would separate from his foe’s grasp. More elbows from Blaydes before Hunt stands up again, but Blaydes shoots right away and that’s his ninth completed takedown. Blaydes with some right hands to Hunt’s dome, and as Hunt returns to his feet, Blaydes ends the fight with one more emphatic takedown and some more elbows from full mount. 29-27 Blaydes, with a 10-8 3rd round.

Official result - Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)


Tai Tuivasa vs. Cyril Asker - Heavyweights

Round 1 - Early left hand for Tuivasa. Asker with a decent punch that Tuivasa takes without issue. Tuivasa going forward aggressively and letting his hands go. Thudding right hand by Tuivasa, then he attacks the body while in the clinch. Another right hand and then a left hook rock Asker and he staggers backwards. Massive elbows against the fence. Tuivasa switches up and throws two devastating body shots. Ridiculous elbows by Tuivasa, and monstrous body blows. How is Asker still standing? The onslaught continues. Asker just faceplanted and it’s over. That was a mauling.

Official result - Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker by TKO (strikes) at 2:18 of round 1


Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang - Welterweights

Round 1 - Feeling out process over the span of the opening minute. Li gets cracked by a right hand, then Matthews scores with a left over the top. Matthews lands a clubbing right hand that buckles Li. Good start for the Australian. Might have been a clash of heads as they both leaned in. Knockdown scored for Matthews on a huge left hand. He advances straight into full mount and Li is in trouble. Matthews takes the back with 90 seconds to go. Jake tells the ref that Li is holding his glove, and the ref sees it. It’s all Matthews in this round as he looks for the finish. Li defends himself and survives the round, as Matthews is really pumped. 10-8 Matthews.

Round 2 - Matthews gets hit with an uppercut and then he drops down for a guillotine, and it’s tight! Again Li grabs the gloves of Matthews and now Li is free and on top of his opponent. Matthews bleeding profusely as he gets back to his feet. Smashing right and left by Matthews. Li throws haymakers and they’re both way off. Matthews’ bleeding may have been caused by eye gouging to fend off the guillotine. Li throws combinations and doesn’t land anything cleanly. Superman Punch by Li is short. Matthews charges forward and scores with a short left hook. They trade big, wild punches and Matthews is getting the better of the exchange. Sweeping right hand partially connects for Li. 20-17 Matthews.

Round 3 - Turns out it was the most obvious and dangerous eye gouge by Li that led to him escaping the guillotine, and also cause Matthews’ eye to bleed. No point deduction. Takedown by Matthews and some short punches before Li gets back up. Matthews with the left hook and Li just misses on the uppercut. Li going for the takedown and Matthews stops it in the center of the cage. Pace has slowed considerably in this round, and then out of nowhere Li gets crushed with a right hand but somehow Jingliang didn’t get knocked out. Li scrambles and he’s the one in Matthews’ guard now. Matthews gets up and is in on a double leg, but Li defends nicely and also legally. Flying knee by Matthews! Li with a jab but he needs much more than that. Great level change and a takedown for Matthews, then he holds onto a leg, Li throws hammerfists, Matthews stands up again and that’s the end of this one. 30-26 Matthews.

Official result - Jake Matthews def. Li Jingliang by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)


Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov - Light Heavyweights

Round 1 - Safarov throws a clubbing right hand and misses. Vicious leg kick by Pedro but Safarov gets a takedown straight after that. Pedro scoots himself towards the fence, and is on one knee, now he’s vertical again. The Aussie smashes Safarov with a lovely Muay Thai knee. Safarov grabs a leg and can’t get Pedro down this time. Safarov swings and whiffs on a sloppy, telegraphed left hook. Big right hand rocks Safarov, who fights back with strikes of his own, then fails on a bad takedown. Head kick by Pedro. Nice uppercut by Safarov briefly froze Pedro. Another right hand by Pedro lands, Safarov is swinging back but eats another knee. Safarov going for the takedown and completes it, then throws a clearly illegal punch to the back of the head. Pedro has a hold of Safarov’s arm in a scramble and he’s got the kimura sweep! That kimura is locked in and Safarov taps. What an extremely cool finish.

Official result - Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov by submission (kimura) at 3:54 of round 1