UFC 213: Romero vs. Whittaker took place Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Nevada. In the main event, Yoel Romaero faced off with Robert Whittaker in a five round contest for the UFC Interim Middleweight title.
Yoel Romero entered the night having gone undefeated in his UFC career, with notable wins over the likes of Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza and Chris Weidman. In his most recent fight at UFC 205 he finished Weidman with a flying knee to earn the KO victory. Romero, an American Top Team product and former Olympic Freestyle Wrestling silver medalist was looking to earn UFC gold for the first time Saturday in Nevada.
Robert Whittaker, winner of TUF: The Smashes entered the cage Saturday night riding a seven fight win streak. Whittaker had collected notable wins over Rafael Natal, Derek Brunson and most recently Ronaldo Souza by TKO at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis in Kansas City, Missouri earlier this year.
One man’s streak would come to an end, while both men faced off in hopes of securing UFC gold and unifying the belts in the near future.
The first round saw both fighters come out utilizing their kicks and Whittaker working the jab and maintaining distance. Romero shot in for the take down and succeed but
Whittaker popped right back to his feet. Romero came back with a flying knee that just missed. Both fighters scrambled and Romero pushed Whittaker back into the cage, with
Romero working knees. Whittaker broke free, however Whittaker was showing signs of a slight limp. Romero shot and and momentarily took Whittaker to the ground but
he bounced back up and fired back with a high kick to end the round.
The second saw Whittaker come out quickly with punches and kicks. Romero landed the take down and was able to secure Whittaker’s back, only to have him work to his feet and get to the cage, where the ref eventually separated the two. After a quick exchange Romero scored the take down again to end the round.
The third round saw Romero shoot for the take down again, only to be stuffed by Whittaker who then answered with his own shots. Romero was clipped by one and it sent him into the cage. Romero was looking tentative now, with Whittaker pushing the pace. Romero again went for the take down and Whittaker shut him down and followed with a knee to the body. The round ended with Romero looking fatigued.
The fourth saw Whittaker keep up the volume of push kicks mixed with body kicks. Romero continued to look for the take down pushing Whittaker into the cage and taking his back. Whittaker broke free and Romero shot again still not finding the mark. Whittaker’s leg was showing the damage and almost buckled but that didn’t stop him from throwing a strong left followed by a flurry of blows. Romero answered back with a leg kick and another take down attempt, that Whitttaker escaped from. Whittaker landed a hard shot, hurting Romero who reacted by shooting for the take down, but Whittaker got out of the way. The round end with Romero breathing hard and looking tired
The final round saw much of the same with Whittaker using the push kick to maintain distance. Romero did what he could with the gas he had left in the tank landing
a good left, only to be answered by a push kick and a left from Whittaker. Romero shot in and Whittaker landed the trip ending up on top in guard. Whittaker got into half guard and dropped some strong elbows at the end of the round. It went to the scorecards, and when all was said and done, Robert Whittaker was your new interim middleweight champion!
Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
After the bout middleweight champ Michael Bisping entered the cage, congratulating both men on the fight, but saying Whittaker should be embarrassed for calling himself champion. He then threw down his belt, challenging Whittaker, who is expected to face Bisping next.