Robert Whittaker ended Yoel Romero’s lengthy winning run on Saturday night at UFC 213, extending his own streak to eight consecutive victories and claiming the interim middleweight title in the process.
The fight was not a particularly exciting one for the most part. The first two rounds in particular featured a number of heavy collisions between the southpaw Romero and the orthodox Whittaker as both tried to step in and throw strikes. While a knee injury that Whittaker suffered as a result of an early Romero oblique kick seemed to hamper the kiwi’s output. Romero did enough to take these rounds, securing takedowns in each and scoring with some decent leg kicks.
In the third, however, Romero started to slow and Whittaker began to find more success with a front kick to the body. Pushing forward behind that, the 26-year-old also began to land with straight rights and left hooks enough to claw himself back to level terms going into the fifth.
Whittaker started that final round well and landed a beautiful knee early on, but he too began to show signs of fatigue as the round progressed. Still, the front kick to the body continued to pay dividends and Whittaker was likely already ahead in the round when he tripped Romero to the canvas amidst an awkward exchange and jumped on top of the Cuban. From here, he finished the round by dropping some hard elbows.
All three judges saw the fight the same way, 48-47 for Whittaker.
After the fight, ‘The Reaper’ spoke with Joe Rogan, who brought in UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping in for comment. Bisping started out by complimenting both Whittaker and Romero, of whom he has been highly critical in the past, but eventually reverted to type.
“The fact that you are standing there with that fucking belt on like your a champion makes me sick, you should be ashamed of yourself,” said Bisping. “Here, take that,” he added, throwing his own belt to the canvas, “fight me for it.”
“I’ll see you soon motherfucker,” barked Bisping, before storming off and leaving a puzzled Whittaker asking if he could actually keep the belt.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) July 9, 2017
At present, Bisping is on the shelf with a knee injury, but he is expected to be back in action later in the year. As long as Dana White doesn’t have a change of heart and decide to piece Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre back together, ‘The Count’ will face Whittaker upon his return.