Karate Combat, YouTube

Luke Rockhold is finally back in the win column.

The former UFC middleweight champion scored a third-round knockout of Joe Schilling on Saturday in the main event of Karate Combat 45 in Dubai, marking his first combat sports win since a 2017 knockout of David Branch.

Rockhold, 39, kept Schilling guessing early by mixing his kicks with his takedowns, however Schilling seized momentum in the second round, badly bloodying Rockhold’s nose with a nasty right hand. But Rockhold maintained his composure and ultimately found his mark with a clean right hook that dropped Schilling midway through the third round, followed by a few ground-and-pound punches to seal the deal.

Watch Rockhold’s handiwork below. (Jump to 4:32:49 mark.)

“Three weeks’ notice, another infection I got this time, it wasn’t the greatest setup, but hey, we got the job, we got the job done,” Rockhold said post-fight.

“Just getting my feet wet, man. Just trying to get back in the game. This is great right here. It’s an interesting place. F***, bare-knuckle to this, walking into new arenas — you’ve got to test yourself in different ways, man. Never get too comfortable.”

Long considered one of the best MMA middleweights in the world, Rockhold exited the UFC in 2022 off a three-fight losing streak to Yoel Romero, Jan Blachowicz, and Paulo Costa. He then signed with BKFC and faced Mike Perry in a marquee bare-knuckle boxing bout, losing via second-round TKO.

Following his victory on Saturday, Rockhold called out fellow former UFC champion Lyoto Machida to face him in Karate Combat next. Rockhold previously defeated Machida via second-round submission in an April 2015 UFC bout.

Author: Staff

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