UFC 230 just got a big shake-up, as Luke Rockhold has been forced out of the promotion’s return to New York City due to injury.
Just weeks out from the UFC’s return to New York City, the card has lost half of its co-main event. According to a report by ESPN and later confirmed by multiple outlets, Luke Rockhold has withdrawn from his bout with Chris Weidman due to multiple injuries. Among them, a shin infection on one leg, and sprained knee on the other. MMA Fighting later reported that Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza has been offered the fight.
Rockhold, a former UFC middleweight champion, has fought sporadically since losing the belt to Michael Bisping at UFC 199. The former Strikeforce champ has competed just twice since then, defeating David Branch just over a year ago, then losing to Yoel Romero at UFC 221 this past February. Rockhold (16–4) won the UFC’s middleweight crown by defeating Chris Weidman at UFC 194 in Las Vegas. A rematch between the two has been hotly anticipated ever since.
Weidman (14–3) lost two straight after dropping the title to Rockhold. He got back on track with a win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on FOX 25 in July 2017, but has not fought since after struggling with injuries of his own. In a statement on social media, he insisted he’ll stay on the card.
Finally, Jacare Souza is the man who could capitalize on all this. At 2-2 in his last four, Souza is coming off a loss to Gastelum (the current number one contender) earlier this year.
UFC 230 takes place November 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.