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Luke Rockhold to test grappling skills vs. Nick Rodriguez at Polaris 12

Luke Rockhold
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Luke Rockhold’s grappling skills helped take him to the top of the MMA world and now he’s bringing them to Polaris.

MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin confirmed with UFC officials that the former champion is set to compete at Polaris 12 against up-and-comer Nick Rodriguez in a grappling match on Nov. 30 at an event in Newport, Wales, that will air on UFC Fight Pass. The news was first reported by Bloody Elbow.

Rockhold, 35, is the owner of eight career submission victories in MMA, including tapouts of Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping. He also utilized ground-and-pound to capture a world title at UFC 194 when he defeated Chris Weidman by TKO to win the middleweight title.

Since the Weidman win, Rockhold has struggled, going just 1-3 with knockout losses in his two most recent contests, including an ill-fated move up to 205 pounds to face Jan Blachowicz.

Rockhold is the owner of a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has won International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation gold medals in lower belt ranks. He put his competitive grappling career on pause when he made his pro MMA debut in 2007.

Rodriguez is relatively new to the competitive BJJ scene, but has already made major waves with a runner-up finish at ADCC 2019 in the +99-kilogram division. The former high school wrestling standout has received tutelage from the likes of grappling luminaries Renzo Gracie, John Danaher, and Gordon Ryan.

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