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Yoel Romero misses weight, cannot win interim title at UFC 221 (updated)

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Update: Yoel Romero missed weight on his second attempt Friday night (Saturday in Australia), coming in at 187.7 pounds. He needed to make 185.

Romero will not be able to win the UFC interim middleweight title fight in his bout with Luke Rockhold at UFC 221. Rockhold will be interim champion if he wins, but Romero would not win the belt even with a victory.

Rockhold verbally accepted the fight earlier Saturday morning after a negotiation with the UFC, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani confirmed via sources. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report the news.

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Yoel Romero might not be fighting for UFC gold this weekend after all.

The UFC middleweight contender missed weight by 3.3 pounds at UFC 221 weigh-ins Friday night (Saturday in Australia) for his scheduled UFC interim middleweight title fight against Luke Rockhold in Perth. Romero had to be 185 pounds or less to fight for the title and he came in at 188.3. The Cuban fighter has two hours to drop the weight and reach the middleweight limit.

If Romero cannot make the weight in two hours, then only Rockhold will be able to win the interim belt. The fight might still go on, but if Romero doesn’t reach 185 he cannot win the title even if he’s victorious in the fight.

Rockhold was angry afterward and he and Romero had an intense staredown at weigh-ins that almost got physical. Romero vowed to go to the sauna and fight on the card Saturday (Sunday in Australia).

Romero, 40, took the fight on four weeks notice. Rockhold was supposed to challenge Robert Whittaker for the undisputed UFC middleweight title, but Whittaker fell injured and withdrew Jan. 13.