Ex-UFC champion Luke Rockhold wins Karate Combat debut by KO

At one point, the American Kickboxing team from San Jose had three undisputed champions in the UFC. Under the watchful eye of Javier Mendez, the AKA head coach, Cain Velasquez was the heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier was the middleweight champion and Luke Rockhold was the middleweight champion.

Luke Rockhold had his Karate Combat debut against Joe Schilling, a former Glory Kickboxing champion, at Karate Combat 45 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. After two close rounds, Rockhold knocked Schilling out midway through the third and final round and the follow-up shots forced the referee to stop the fight.

Schilling was the aggressor midway through the first round, but Rockhold began to pick his shots with his signature kicks. Rockhold took control in the second round but a straight right from Schilling hit his foe flush on the nose. Both fighters were tired in the third round, a stinging right hook from Rockhold dropped Schilling and led to the finish.

The victory was Rockhold’s first since he defeated David Branch in 2016, his first fight after he lost the middleweight title to Michael Bisping. After retiring from the UFC, Rockhold made his BKFC debut against Mike Perry, losing via TKO.

Nevertheless, Rockhold was one of the best fighters to ever compete in MMA, evidenced by his stints with the UFC, Strikeforce, and recently, Karate Combat.

Luke Rockhold’s MMA career

Luke Rockhold was the last Strikeforce middleweight champion before the UFC acquired the promotion. At Strikeforce, Rockhold went 9-0 with his final two fights being title defenses against Keith Jardine and Tim Kennedy. After reeling off 6 consecutive wins, all via finish, Rockhold had won the title from Ronaldo Souza via unanimous decision.

However, things did not go well for Rockhold as he lost to Vitor Belfort on his UFC debut via a first-round finish. Nonetheless, he bounced back with finishes over Costas Philippou, Tim Boetsch, Michael Bisping, and Lyoto Machida and earned a title shot against then-undefeated Chris Weidman.

Rockhold won the fight against Weidman via fourth-round TKO but lost his subsequent matchup to Michael Bisping via first-round TKO. Even though he bounced back with a finish of David Branch, he lost the subsequent matchups against Yoel Romero, Jan Blachowicz, and Paulo Costa.

Rockhold retired after the fight with Costa but has been close with his MMA colleagues as evidenced by his support of Cain Velasquez in the attempted murder trial. Nonetheless, with the victory at Karate Combat, things look promising for the ex-UFC champion.

Do you think Luke Rockhold will have a career resurgence at Karate Combat? Leave your thoughts below!


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