Karate Combat

Karate Combat Scoops Up Ex-UFC Champ

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Another fight, another promotional pit-stop for Luke Rockhold.

You heard that right, the former UFC Middleweight Champion has booked his return outside of the Octagon. On Tuesday, it was announced that Rockhold had signed with Karate Combat and is slated to face fellow veteran Joe Schilling on Apr. 20.

The matchup at Karate Combat 45 will take place from the Dubai Duty Free Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.

This is Rockhold’s sequel appearance since fighting out his UFC contract in 2022. Rockhold left the promotion on a high note in a rather bloody battle against Brazilian powerhouse Paulo Costa at UFC 278… all at elevation. The former champ would lose by unanimous decision and retired afterwards, only to later pack up his bags for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) in his next fight.

Even with the gloves off, Rockhold quickly found out he had his hands full with ex-UFC brawler Mike Perry. Rockhold called the fight in the second round after having his teeth busted up by ‘Platinum’. In the aftermath, the 38 year-old said he’d never return to the BKFC ring again.

Rockhold stays true to his kickboxing roots, finding a new home inside the Karate Combat pit. The same goes for his opponent, former Bellator fighter and Glory kickboxer Joe Schilling. 

The circumstances could’ve been better for the 40 year-old Schilling, as the fighter hasn’t competed in nearly five years. Schilling’s last fight was a TKO loss to Tony Johnson at Bellator 229 in Oct. 2019.

Holding a 4-6 record in MMA, Schilling has found much more success playing to his strengths on the kickboxing circuit. We’ll see how ‘Stitch ‘Em Up’ handles a world-class striker in Luke Rockhold when they collide on 4/20.

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Christopher De Santiago is a 22 year-old journalist out of Texas with years of experience covering MMA. Follow him on X: @chris_dsantiago

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