Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold is slated to make his anticipated return to the Octagon on November 6th. at UFC 268 — with a pairing against the recent headliner, Sean Strickland agreed to for the event. As of publication, the promotion are reportedly tentatively targeting a New York City landing pad for the card.
Out of action since UFC 239 in July of 2019, former titleholder, Rockhold is set to return to the middleweight ranks for the first time since a February 2018 knockout loss to Bellator light heavyweight, Yoel Romero when he meets the #8 ranked contender, Strickland.
Rockhold’s last outing came opposite current light heavyweight kingpin, Jan Blachowicz where the Californian suffered a broken jaw en route to an eventual second round knockout defeat to the Pole in his 205lbs debut.
For Strickland, the Anaheim-born striker last featured just a week ago in the main event of UFC Vegas 33 where he extended his winning spree to five consecutive fights with a comfortable unanimous decision victory over The Ultimate Fighter finalist, Uriah Hall. TSN reporter, Aaron Bronsteter was first to report the matchup between Rockhold and Strickland.
Hoping to put right a recent run of form which has seen him drop three knockout losses in his last four outings, Rockhold who returns following surgeries to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff, is without a win since a finish over former WSOF two-weight champion, David Branch in the headlining tilt of UFC Fight Night Pittsburg back in September 2017.
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is a former undisputed middleweight champion under both the UFC and Strikeforce banners, taking career wins over the likes of Ronaldo Souza, Keith Jardine, Tim Kennedy, Tim Boetsch, Costas Phlilippou, two-time opponent, Michael Bisping, as well as former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman and former light heavyweight best, Lyoto Machida.
Syndicate MMA trainee, Strickland made his 14th. Octagon walk opposite Hall last weekend, adding the Spanish Town striker to a winning run in the promotion which includes other wins against the likes of Brendan Allen, Krzysztof Jotko, Tom Breese, and Alex Garcia.