The specter of Luke Rockhold looms large over UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker — or at least it does on UFC 221’s event poster.
The UFC’s official Oceania Twitter account debuted UFC 221’s poster late Wednesday ahead of the Feb. 11 showdown between Whittaker and Rockhold, which takes place in Perth, Australia. Check that out below.
— UFC Aus/New Zealand (@UFC_AUSNZ) January 11, 2018
The event marks a home game for Whittaker (19-4), the UFC’s 27-year-old middleweight titleholder.
A resident of Sydney and native of Auckland, New Zealand, Whittaker will carry an eight-fight win streak into UFC 221, which represents the first official defense of his 185-pound strap. Whittaker first captured the interim UFC middleweight title in July 2017 with a decision win over Yoel Romero, then was promoted to the undisputed champion in December after Georges St-Pierre vacated the belt he took from Michael Bisping at UFC 217.
But Whittaker faces a tall task in Rockhold (16-3), the former UFC champion who rebounded from his 2016 loss to Bisping with a second-round stoppage of David Branch in September.
UFC 221 takes place Feb. 11 at the Perth Arena. Heavyweights Mark Hunt and Curtis Blaydes collide in the night’s co-main event.