Aussie Robert Whittaker wins UFC interim middleweight

Adjust Comment Print

Despite his unanimous victory Whittaker's win was not without obstacle; Whittaker suffered an injury off of a Romero kick in the first round that left his knee unstable and hampered his movement throughout the fight.

After the fight ended, several pros have given their opinion on the main event.

'The fact that you're standing there with a belt on makes me sick, ' Bisping said. Romero, well done. I wanted to come here and talk a lot of s**t but it was an awesome fight. Romero stayed locked on, though, and he kept the Aussie pinned to the cage until referee John McCarthy restarted the action with a minute left.

Yoel landed a nice takedown at the beginning of Round 2.

Landing punch after punch, and kick after kick, Whittaker used his distance to keep Romero at bay. The first round was very close.

"Michael Bisping is Michael Bisping", he said., "He is who he is and he's going to do what he's going to do". It also helped that despite Romero's freakish muscular figure, the Cuban-born fighter exhausted out as the fight went on, getting clipped more and more often. Romero got right back into the clinch and he scored a takedown right before the end of the frame.

Whittaker started that final round well and landed a attractive knee early on, but he too began to show signs of fatigue as the round progressed.

Whittaker popped right back to his feet.

Romero's "dirty" reputation stems from a failed drug test in 2015 - he tested positive to a banned substance that stimulates human growth hormone release but USADA accepted his claim he had not knowingly taken it - while questionable tactics in the Octagon also haven't enamoured him to rivals.

While Whittaker was clearly busted, his fitness has never been an issue. When Weidman tried again, Romero timed Weidman's level change and hit him with a flying knee as he ducked down, opening an disgusting gash along his scalp and ending the fight immediately. Fortunately, a loss like this doesn't do as much damage as you would think, so the climb for another title shot will not be too long for Romero.

"This fight with Yoel Romero isn't just about the UFC gold".

After a second round where Romero's offense and advances gave him a 20-18 edge, Whittaker realized that he needed to ramp up the offense.

Robert Whittaker wasn't about to let a leg injury get in the way of winning a title. Another Whittaker round, 38-38.

"It's huge - being a role model for the sport and being a role model for athletes in general is one of the biggest things for me as an athlete", Whittaker tells ESPN. No, this year doesn't have the same blockbuster feel as the last couple years in Las Vegas, but Saturday's headliner between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko should be one of the fights of the year ...