The unstoppable force vs the immovable object: Luke Rockhold vs Sean Strickland face-off in UFC 288

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Ever since the UFC (ultimate fighting championship) began all the way back in 1998, fans of the sport have witnessed some of the most enjoyable and entertaining one on one fights that have ever occurred. Across twelve different weight divisions (eight for men, four for women), and in over 500 separate events, the sport has grown in stature and in popularity over the years, to become the worldwide phenomenon that we see today.

Over the years, there have been many memorable fights that fans still speak about to this day. Two of the most viewed and most talked about would have to be the UFC196 and UFC 202, which were both between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. The first fight took place in March 2016, with McGregor winning by submission in the second round. The rematch was only a few months later, with this time the fight going the distance. Again, McGregor was declared the victor, winning on a points decision.

Other infamous fights include UFC 38, which saw Dan Henderson knockout Mauricio Rua, Robbie Lawler defeating Rory MacDonald by total knockout at UFC189 (the second time the two men had faced each other), and Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79, which saw Liddell win in a points decision in the third round.

Of course, it is all well and good looking back on past events, but in MMA, as with all sports, we are also excited about what the future holds as well. In fact, in less than a month’s time on the 7th of November, there is an intriguing matchup in UFC 268. It sees Sean Strickland of Anaheim, California, take on Luke Rockhold, from Santa Cruz, California. 

It promises to be an exciting fight, with all the top sports betting sites offering fans and bettors the latest odds on who they think will win, whether there will be a total knockout, or if it will go to a points decision. Let’s look a little deeper into the two fighters, and try to decide who we think is going to come out on top in this exciting encounter.

Rockhold the elder statesman of MMA

Luke Rockhold was born in 1984. Before entering the world of UFC, he represented the United States at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, where he won two gold medals in 2007. While he had risen to the position of Strikeforce Middleweight champion in 2011, he didn’t enter UFC until 2013, losing his first fight against Vitor Belfort. Thankfully, things improved after his rocky start, and by 2015 he won the UFC middleweight title, after beating Chirs Widman at UFC 194.

Since then, he has had mixed fortunes; a low point was losing to Micahel Bisping at UFC199, which was considered one of the biggest upsets in UFC title history. He recovered from this humiliation and defeated David Branch at UFC Fight Night 116, forcing him to tap out in the second round. He has been away from the sport for two years, so will be using the Strickland fight as his long-awaited comeback.

MONCTON, NB – OCTOBER 27: Sean Strickland poses for a portrait backstage after his victory over Nordine Taleb during the UFC Fight Night event inside Avenir Centre on October 27, 2018 in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Strickland’s formidable record

Sean Strickland is seven years younger than Rockhold, born in 1991. His debut came at UFC171, where he defeated Bubba McDaniel in the first round. He has recorded several impressive victories in his career, such as against Alex Garcia at UFC Fight Night 83, against Tom Breese at UFC202, and at UFC Fight Night 120, wherein a controversial match against Court McGree, the win was awarded to Strickland after it was revealed there was an error in calculating the judge’s scorecards.

It’s not all been sunshine, as Strickland has suffered some big defeats as well. Most notably at UFC210 where he lost to Kamaru Usman on a unanimous decision, and against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos at UFC224. He also has had injury problems, as he was hit by a car in December 2018. He managed to recover and win several fights since.

Who has the edge in this fight?

This is going to be a tough one to call. Strickland has more wins (24) and fewer losses (3) than Rockhold (16 wins, 5 loses) and has a significant age advantage. There aren’t many 37-year-olds still competing at the top level, so Rockhold will surely be vulnerable to Strickland’s quick and aggressive movements.

Both have had serious injuries to contend with, with Strickland’s being the more serious, not only knocking him unconscious but also requiring him to have a knee operation to repair the damage. However, he has won several MMA fights since his recovery, whereas this will be Rockhold’s first appearance at a UFC event for over two years.

We feel Rockhold might just about edge it, but whatever the outcome, if you are an MMA fan, you just have to be tuning in on November 6th.

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