Yoel Romero Pulled From UFC Orlando

Who Will Headline UFC on Fox 28?

The UFC returns to the sunshine state for the first time since April 2016.  The fight card on February 24th will be the first event in Orlando since December 2015, UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs Cerrone 2.

The last fight card in Orlando was a memorable one.  Rafael dos Anjos defended his lightweight title against Donald Cerrone with a TKO 1:06 into the fight.  In the co-main event, Alistar Overeem knocked out former heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos in the second round.

The moment fans were talking about leaving the Amway Center that night was Nate Diaz’s post fight interview with Joe Rogan after an unanimous decision victory over Michael Johnson.  Diaz used the platform to call out Conor McGregor.  The interview can be seen below via the UFC on Fox’s YouTube page.

He went onto fight McGregor twice, winning one fight and losing one, while making a lot of money in the process.

With UFC on Fox 28 just over a month out, the event still doesn’t have a main event.  The biggest fight announced for the card was Yoel Romero vs David Branch.  Romero (12-2) trains out of Florida at American Top Team.  He lost his last fight to Robert Whittaker at UFC 213 in July 2017 for the interim middleweight championship.  Whittaker (19-4) won via unanimous decision.

Yoel Romero, left, fights Robert Whittaker in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Branch (21-4) is a former World Series of Fighting middleweight champion and is 1-1 in the octagon.  Branch is coming off a submission loss to Luke Rockhold.  The fight makes sense with both fighters coming off losses.  Well, that fight is no longer going to happen.

UFC 221 was supposed to be headlined by middleweight champion Whittaker and Rockhold.  Whittaker has been forced to withdraw from the card due to injuries and the UFC replaced him with Romero.  Rockhold (16-4) and Romero will now fight for the interim middleweight championship.

Luke Rockhold, right, reacts after defeating Chris Weidman, left, in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

A replacement for Branch has yet to be announced.  There aren’t enough big names announced on the card to move anyone else up to the main event, so expect a replacement for Romero to fight Branch or a new fight to get announced in the next couple weeks.

David Branch in action against Kryzsztof Jotko in a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 211 on Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Dallas. Branch won via decision. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (14-3) hasn’t fought since July and doesn’t have a fight announced.  He is ranked number five and is the only top middleweight who doesn’t have a fight lined up or just fought.

Another possibility is Vitor Belfort (26-13) against Uriah Hall.  The two were supposed to fight tonight on UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, but Hall (13-8) fainted on his way to the weigh-ins.  The fight has been called off.  Belfort was set to retire after the fight, so perhaps the UFC can reschedule Hall to fight him or have him fight Branch for what’s set to be his final MMA fight.