The news was first reported early Saturday morning by , which cited UFC officials. Whittaker also remarked on the unfortunate news.
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Whittaker (19-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) has withdrawn from his UFC 221 title defense against Luke Rockhold (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) because of an undisclosed injury. Yoel Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will replace Whittaker and face Rockhold for the interim title.
UFC 221 takes place Feb. 10 at Perth Arena in Perth, Australia, and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Robert Whittaker’s first title defense as undisputed UFC middleweight champion is on hold.
Whittaker won the interim belt against Romero last July at UFC 213 and was later promoted to undisputed champion after Georges St-Pierre vacated the title one month removed from his UFC 217 win over Michael Bisping.
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“I’m beyond disappointed that I’m unable to defend the title in my home country of Australia,” Whittaker said. “I hope the fans enjoy what should be a great night of fights at UFC 221, and I look forward to a recovery as soon as possible that will have me back in the octagon to face the winner of the main event.”