Australia’s UFC Middleweight world champion Robert Whittaker has earned a six-figure bonus but copped yet another bad health break after a thrilling win over Cuban Yoel Romero in Chicago. The bout was supposed to be for the middleweight title but became a non-title fight when Romero missed the 185lbs limit, weighing in at 185.2lbslbs. Although he defeated Romero, who he also fought in the main event of UFC 213, Whittaker’s 20th professional victory – which came via a split decision – won’t go down as a successful title defense.
Early on, Whittaker appeared to be in control. His consistent striking and sustained leg kicks scored clear victories in the first two rounds. And with Romero’s right eye dramatically swollen, the Cuban challenger appeared to be in serious trouble. Romero was once again very conservative with his output, perhaps due to the fact he tired in the championship rounds of his last encounter with ‘The Reaper’.
In the end, Whittaker was just a bit better, taking a split decision by getting the better end of three 48-47 scores. It gave the champ two wins over Romero, as he won on 48-47 cards in their first fight last summer.