Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold might think he’s done with MMA, at least for now, but he wanted to keep the competitive juices flowing. So he agreed to a 230-pound catchweight no-gi grappling match with up-and-comer Nick Rodriguez in the headliner of Polaris 12.
It didn’t go so well for Rockhold.
The two men didn’t exactly create magic over the course of the 15-minute bout. There was a lot of clinching and not a lot of action. Rockhold was cut by a clash of heads early, a relatively rare occurrence in grappling. But after asking for some vaseline for the cut, the bout continued. And it didn’t have any effect on the rest of the match, other than the doctors checking it briefly one other time.
Overall though, Rodriguez had the more effective offense over the course of the match and he was granted a unanimous decision victory. In the aftermath, Rockhold was quite complimentary of his opponent;
“I’m no stranger, I can play the bull or I can play the matador. I didn’t have enough to keep up with him. Credit to him, the kid’s tough. I thought he would shoot more. I thought I could play more of a different game. I didn’t realize it would just be stuck on the feet and the kind of push/pull, sorry about that, but I wanted a little more action.
“I tried to bait, I tried to give it, but the man did his homework. He comes from a good team, they know what to avoid and where to attack, so credit to him.”
He also managed to take a veiled shot at the UFC:
“It’s just fun for me. Competition is a part of my life and this kind of lightens it up, takes me away from all the political bullsh-t that you deal with in the UFC. There’s a lot more to it. This is just fun and it keeps that goal-oriented mindset.”
On the undercard, the UFC’s Gilbert Burns dropped a decision to Tommy Langaker.