A key middleweight bout has been announced for the main event of the UFC’s return to Australia in November as former UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold and long-time top contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza meet in a five-round bout at UFC Fight Night 101.
Rockhold announced the bout on his social media late Sunday night, and it was later confirmed by UFC officials.
Rockhold and Souza have met once before when both were fighting in the Strikeforce promotion. It was for Souza’s Strikeforce Middleweight Championship in September 2011, a bout won by Rockhold via unanimous decision. At the time, it was considered one of the bigger upsets to happen in recent time.
Rockhold is returning to the Octagon for the first time since losing the UFC Middleweight Championship to Michael Bisping by first-round knockout at UFC 199 in June. Rockhold had won the title from Chris Weidman in his previous bout at UFC 194 in December.
UFC officials were trying to get Rockhold to return for the last few weeks, but he had been holding out for a better contract, stating he is making enough from doing modeling that he doesn’t need to fight if the money isn’t right. With this announcement, it seems those issues have now past.
Souza is looking to score his second straight win after beating Vitor Belfort by first-round TKO at UFC 198 in May. Souza bounced back from losing a split decision to Yoel Romero at UFC 194 in December in a key top contenders’ bout, which ended Souza’s eight-fight win streak. Souza is 6-1 since coming to the UFC from Strikeforce, also scoring wins over Gegard Mousasi, Francis Carmont, Yushin Okami, and two wins over Chris Camozzi.
UFC Fight Night 101 takes place on November 27th from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. The event airs on Fox Sports 1, and due to the time difference between the United States and Australia, the event is broadcast on November 26th. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.