On February 11 (February 10 in North America), the UFC will take over Perth, Western Australia with UFC 221.
In the main event of the UFC’s anticipated return down under, UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker – who was promoted from interim champion when Georges St-Pierre vacated the title – will attempt his first title defense opposite former champion Luke Rockhold.
Elsewhere on the card, we’ll see MMA legend Mark Hunt take on surging heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes, while Jussier “Formiga” da Silva and Ben Nguyen will collide in a flyweight contender bout, Tyson Pedro and Saparbek Safarov will meet at light heavyweight, and Cyril Asker and Tai Tuivasa will meet at heavyweight.
While these bouts have been public knowledge for some time, the card has grown by two more bouts as of this week.
The first is a lightweight bout between Australia’s own Damien Brown and South Korea’s “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim. This bout was announced by the UFC, via Australia’s Daily Telegraph.
Brown will enter this fight on an unfortunate, two-fight streak, having recently been knocked out by Vinc Pichel, and decisioned by Frank Camacho in a thrilling slugfest. These losses were preceded by defeats of Jon Tuck and Cesar Arzamendia, and a loss to Alan Patrick in his UFC debut.
Kim, meanwhile, will enter this fight on a two-fight streak, having recently decisioned Brandon O’Reilly and knocked out Japanese MMA legend Takanori Gomi in just 90 seconds.
In addition to this Brown-Kim fight, our own Tom Taylor has confirmed that a bout between surging Australian featherweight contender Alex Volkanovski and Canada’s Jeremy Kennedy is nearly finalized for the card.
Sources tell me a bout between Australia’s Alex Volkanovski and Canada’s Jeremy Kennedy is close to being finalized for #UFC221 in Perth, Australia. Fight was briefly scheduled to occur back at UFC Fight Night 121.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTayMMA) December 17, 2017
The 16-1 Volkanovski will enter this planned bout on a fantastic, 13-fight streak, including 3-straight wins in the UFC’s Octagon. Kennedy, meanwhile, will step into the cage with a perfect, 11-0 record. He’s also 3-0 in the Octagon. This bout was originally expected to occur at UFC Fight Night 121 in November, but Kennedy was forced out of the fight, and after several shakeups, replaced by New Zealand’s Shane Young.
Which fight on the UFC 221 bill are you most excited for?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 19/12/2017.