Luke Rockhold wants rising Australian star on card at UFC Melbourne

Fast-rising Australian star Rob Whittaker is tipped to join former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on a talent-laden card for UFC’s Melbourne Fight Night in November.

While Rockhold will headline, plenty of Melbourne fight fans will want to see the 25-year-old Australian again after an impressive performance against the flashy Uriah Hall last November at Etihad Stadium.

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That unanimous decision victory over Hall, the runner-up in Ultimate Fighter 17, established Whittaker as a top-ten fighter in the middleweight division and with a victory since over experienced Brazilian Rafael Natal his stock has risen further.

So much so that Rockhold would also like to see Whittaker up close and personal in Melbourne.

“There are rumours of Rob being on this card and if he is I’m sure I’ll watch him,” Rockhold told AAP.

“Rob is making moves. He’s fared very well in recent fights against some tricky opponents and it will be interesting to see how he goes against the very top guys.

“I have kept my eye on him and he’s focused and has some heavy hands. There is a lot of potential there.

“His stand up is good but we’ll get to see the other areas of his game soon and see if he can wrestle.”

Despite his preference to land strikes, Whittaker has proven there are more strings to his bow.

He toughed out the win over Natal with a broken hand for close to the full 15 minutes and says he does eventually want to show what he can get done on the canvas.

Melbourne duo Jake Matthews and Daniel Kelly will be on the Melbourne card with Tom Wright, the general manager for UFC operations in Canada, Australia and New Zealand suggesting Whittaker is “a good chance” of being there.

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