In an absolute war, despite no title being on the line, Robert Whittaker held on to get the better of Yoel Romero at UFC 225. Albeit by the skin of his teeth.
UFC 225 in Chicago on Saturday saw the rematch of Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. And what a rematch it was. The two last met at UFC 213, where they fought for the then UFC interim Middleweight Championship, later to be promoted to undisputed championship. UFC 225, however would not be for the Championship as Romero missed weight. That meant win or lose, champ Robert Whittaker would retain the title.
In the end it wouldn’t matter, but just barely. Whittaker went with a leg kick to open. The champ worked the side kicks early. Romero looked to be pacing himself early on. Whittaker continued with leg kicks. Romero exploded with a hooking punch that just missed. Whittaker continued to throw side kicks; Romero was covering up well absorbing most of the damage. Romero launched a spinning back fist as Whittaker came in, just missing. Robert Whittaker backed Romero up to the fence, but Romero exploded forward with a flurry that finished with a leg kick that closed the round.
In the second, Whittaker opened with side kick again. Romero was opening up a bit now and throwing more. Whittaker continued with the side kick followed by an over head right. Romero covered up well and still looked to be pacing himself. Romero’s right eye was swelling all of a sudden, however. It blimped up in an instant. Whittaker started to mix in some high kicks, Romero again covered up then fired back with a kick of his own. Whittaker went back to the side kick and the two whiffed on their respective punches as the horn sounded.
The third had Whittaker opening with a kick. Romero landed a huge right that sent Whittaker stumbling. Whittaker retreated but Romero chased throwing punches the whole time. Whittaker landed a crushing elbow of his own that hurt Romero. The two clinched and the action slowed; Whittaker was bleeding from the nose. Still against the fence Whittaker threw a spinning back fist that missed the mark. Romero exploded again with a flurry and Whittaker escaped and fired off a high kick. Whittaker looked hurt and Romero stalked him around the cage as he fired punches. Whittaker landed a bone cracking head kick that Romero walked through. The two clinched against the fence and Romero got Whittaker’s back. They broke and Whittaker got the clinch as the round came to an end.
Round four. Whittaker again opened with a kick. Romero was pacing himself again after the onslaught of the third. Whittaker continued the attack and threw a kick to the head that Romero blocked. Whittaker worked the leg kicks, accidentally landing one to Romero’s groin that brought a stop to the action. Just a short break. Action resumed and Whittaker loaded up on the jab and leg kicks. Whittaker continued to load the jab and Romero kept defending and shot back landing a solid right that wobbled Whittaker; the horn sounded to end the round shortly after.
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Both fighters opened the fifth and final round with an exchange of punches. Romero fired off a spinning back kick. Whittaker responded with a high kick and a snapping jab. Romero started pressing the action landing a huge left dropping Whittaker. Wow! Whittaker hit the mat and covered up as Romero looked to finish. Whittaker shot a single that Romero stuffed. Whittaker worked to his feet and Romero worked to drag him back down. What a chin on the champ. Whittaker got back to his feet with Romero on his back. The ref stepped in to break them and got them back in the center of the octagon. Romero went with a spinning heel kick that Whittaker intercepted with a push kick that sent Romero rolling back to his feet. The two exchanged high kicks, and Romero rushed with a flurry to end the fight.
An incredible main event, title on the line or no. It a fight that easily could have gone the other way, Robert Whittaker took home the win, but told Joe Rogan after that he’d possibly broken his hand in the bout.
Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)