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Australian UFC event loses headline bout

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Jason Phelan

The UFC event to be held in Melbourne later this month has suffered a huge blow with American fighter Luke Rockhold withdrawing from the headline bout.

Rockhold was due to fight Brazilian Ronaldo Sousa at UFC Fight Night 101 at Rod Laver Arena on November 27.

UFC officials are scrambling to find a replacement after it emerged on Wednesday that Rockhold had suffered a knee injury and will not take part.

"Right now there is nothing I want more than to get back into the cage and do what I love most ... unfortunately, due to an injury to my left knee I had to withdraw from the fight," Rockhold posted on his official Facebook page.

"I apologise to the UFC and (Sousa) and most importantly to the fans. I will be back better than ever in pursuit of the belt."

The middleweight fight was a rematch of the 2011 meeting between the pair that went to Rockhold by unanimous decision.

The winner of the bout was expected to be in contention for a shot at the middleweight title held by British fighter Michael Bisping.

A UFC official said it was unclear if a replacement fighter would step in to face Sousa or whether a new feature fight would be organised with the Rockhold-Sousa match rescheduled.

The Sousa camp are reportedly angling for a title bout against Bisping in Melbourne, a possibility that wasn't ruled out by officials.

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