Luke Rockhold returns from his long layoff at a weight class 20 pounds higher at UFC 239 against Jan Blachowicz.
Luke Rockhold has been fighting at a once-a-year pace since 2016. Meanwhile, Blachowicz has fought three times since the start of last year alone. We’ll be able to see if Rockhold’s talent will translate to a higher weight class and if he can make a run to a second title.
Luke Rockhold defended the Strikeforce middleweight title twice before joining the UFC along with the rest of the promotion. After falling in his Octagon debut to Vitor Belfort, Rockhold won five straight fights with three performance of the night bonus and the last fight earning him the middleweight title over Chris Weidman. The AKA product surprisingly lost the title to short-notice opponent Michael Bisping in his first title defense. Since then, he is 1-1 with a win over David Branch and an interim title fight against Yoel Romero.
Jan Blachowicz, a former KSW champion, got off to a great start in the Octagon with a first-round stoppage of Ilir Latifi. The Polish fighter struggled afterward, going 1-4 in his next five fights. Blachowicz turned it around after that, winning four consecutive fights with three bonuses and big wins over Jimi Manuwa and Nikita Krylov. Blachowicz came up short against Thiago Santos in a main event in his last appearance in February.
UFC 239 is the headline event of International Fight Week this year. The aforementioned bout is the only one linked to the card currently. The event takes place on July 6 in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.