Ex-UFC champ Luke Rockhold knocks out Joe Schilling at Karate Combat 45, calls out Lyoto Machida


Luke Rockhold is back.

The former UFC middleweight champion picked up his first combat sports win in years, putting away veteran kickboxer and former Bellator fighter Joe Schilling in the main event of Karate Combat 45, which took place on Saturday afternoon in Dubai.

Rockhold stopped Schilling early into the third round. He connected a huge right hand that sent Schilling to the ground, and then followed up with ground-and-pound to close out the bout.

Below, you can see the video of Rockhold’s finish:

After the victory, Rockhold called for a fight against fellow former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in Karate Combat.

“There’s only one man I want to fight in this pit, and that’s Lyoto Machida,” Rockhold said in his post-fight interview. “You’re lucky because they don’t allow elbows, so no more nightmares about the elbows. Bring it. Let’s see what you got, let’s see what the paychecks look like, bring out that check book.

“Lyoto, I know you need a pay-day motherf*cker, come get it.”

This is Rockhold’s second fight in his post-UFC run. After fighting out his contract with the UFC in August 2022, and briefly hinting retirement, Rockhold fought Mike Perry in a bareknuckle boxing in April 2023 – a fight he lost by TKO. He now returns to stop Schilling under the striking rules of Karate Combat.

Rockhold and Machida have fought previously. They met in 2015 in the headliner of a UFC Fight Night event. That night in New Jersey, Rockhold submitted Machida with a rear-naked choke. Machida is currently a free agent after parting ways with Bellator a couple of years back. He’s yet to officially retire and has expressed interest in fighting again.

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