Luke Rockhold KO’s Joe Schilling At Karate Combat 45

Luke Rockhold earned his first win in 6 years yesterday with a knockout victory against Joe Schilling at Karate Combat 45 in Dubai.

The 40-year-old Schilling, a kickboxing star who also competed in MMA, hadn’t fought since being KO’d by Tony Johnson in the bellator promotion back in 2019, but he looked to constantly apply pressure against Rockhold in opening rounds of their Karate Combat fight, and that led to him bloodying his opponent’s nose with a big right hand in the second round.

By the third stanza both fighters were beginning to look winded and as Schilling continued to press forward with his guard low Rockhold was able to land a well timed right hook that floored him, with follow-up strikes on the ground completing the knockout finish at 1.43mins of the third round.

This was a much needed win for the former UFC middleweight champion Rockhold, who has lurched from one disaster to another in his combat sports career in the later stages of his career.

Rockhold suffered back-to-back KO losses to Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz in the UFC in 2018-2019 that led to a three-year hiatus from the sport, and his comeback fight against Paulo Costa in 2022 resulted in one of the worst performances seen in the Octagon in recent memory as he quickly gassed out and barely made it to the final bell during aunanimous decision defeat.

That prompted his exit from the UFC and many presumed that he’d now head into retirement, only for Rockhold to reappear last year in a bare-knuckle boxing match against Mike Perry which also went terribly, suffering a broken tooth from a right hand that led to a TKO loss.

Having now finally broken his losing streak (albeit not in an MMA fight), it sounds like Rockhold still intends to continue competing.

“Just getting my feet wet, man,” Rockhold said after his win. “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.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.