Talented striker Luke Rockhold is expected to make his first appearance at light heavyweight at UFC 227 this August, as he faces two time title chaser Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson in a 205lbs bout.
UFC President Dana White outlined a hugely ambitious plan for the Las Vegas card, with a double return of Georges St-Pierre and Nate Diaz in a lightweight bout, with a bantamweight title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt already confirmed as the headliner at the T-Mobile arena.
California’s Rockhold returned to the win column against David Branch after a shocking knockout loss to Michael Bisping where he lost his middleweight crown on short notice, and was expected to face current division champ Robert Whittaker in Australia until a staph infection ruled the hometown favorite out of the title meeting. Stepping in on short notice, Cuban Olympian Freestyle Wrestling medalist Yoel Romero terrifyingly stopped Luke in the fourth round with a heavy left hook, followed by a massive shot against the fence to render Rockhold unconscious.
A fan favorite fighting out of Stockholm, Sweden, the heavy handed Alexander Gustafsson scored a highlight reel stoppage over the experienced Glover Teixeira in his most recent octagon trip, landing a beautiful uppercut combination on the Brazilian to extend his win streak to two. Gus has taken both Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones to their respective distances during his stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship top 5. Going the distance with both men, Gustafsson arguably took the victory over ‘Bones’ Jones while in his second title tilt, Cormier utilized his elite level wrestling to out score the Swede over five rounds in Houston.
In my opinion, a Light Heavyweight meeting with Gustafsson may prove hugely troublesome for Rockhold, maybe his most dangerous stylistic match up in that talent stacked division. Despite his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Kickboxing prowess, Rockhold is significantly smaller than Gustafsson, despite his status as arguably the biggest Middleweight today in terms of stature.