UFC vet Luke Rockhold to face BJJ star Craig Jones at Israel Fight League 1

MMA veteran Luke Rockhold is switching to BJJ.

By: Tim Bissell | 1 month ago

Former UFC champ Luke Rockhold is back in action

Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold has a fight booked, but it’s not in MMA (or bare knuckle boxing). The slick grappler will be heading to Israel in September to take on Craig Jones in a BJJ match in Jerusalem.

UFC and MMA star Luke Rochold at a BKFC event.
Luke Rockhold. Photo by Amy Kaplan | Icon Sportswire

Jones announced the match-up on Instagram.

Luke Rockhold seemingly announced his MMA retirement after a loss to Paulo Costa at UFC 278 in August 2022. That bout was the final fight on his UFC contract and he had to wait over two years to get it.

His penultimate fight in the UFC was a second round KO loss to Jan Blachowicz in 2019. That followed a KO loss to Yoel Romero and a TKO win over David Branch.

The Branch win came after Rockhold’s sensational loss to Michael Bisping in 2016. The loss to Bisping, who was coming in on very short notice, cost Rockhold his UFC middleweight title (in his first defence).

After leaving the UFC the 38-year-old tried his unwrapped hands at the sport of bare knuckle boxing. In April he fought Mike Perry at BKFC 41 with the bout mercifully ending early in round 2 after Rockhold’s teeth got mangled.

Craig Jones is an elite opponent

Though there’s not much chance of Rockhold getting his teeth broken on the mat in Jerusalem, he is definitely the underdog in his match-up there. Craig Jones is a black belt under Lachlan Giles and is recognized as one of the best submission grapplers on the planet.

The Australian is a two time ADCC silver medallist. Jones is also a multi-time Polaris middleweight champ and a Submission Underground Absolute Champ.

Currently he is the go-to grappling instructor for City Kickboxing and their UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski.

Israel Fight League has other recognizable MMA faces

Israel Fight League 1 is scheduled for September 21. The main event is a match up of Bellator and UFC vets Noad Lahat and Albert Morales. Also on the card is Johnny Case vs. Loay Sakas and Darrell Horcher vs. Harel Cohen.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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