UFC 225 touched its home soil by bringing Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero to face off each other at United Centre at Chicago. The weigh ins saw Romero miss weight of 0.2 pounds, and many assumed that the fight was off schedule. However, Whittaker was determined not to let go his debut title defence and the away player lived up to the expectations of his fans in his non-title bout. After an entertaining fight with the Cuban, Whittaker managed a victory via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47).
After Yoel Romero missed weight just before the fight, MMA enthusiasts were quite disappointed as rumours were that Whittaker would not consent to fight. But the Reaper defied all odds, as he showed his fans why he truly deserves to be called a champ. The away fighter had stated earlier that he didn’t just fly 22 hours to miss the fight.
The first two rounds saw the Reaper take the fight easy. A blow to Romero’s eye made it swollen shut propelling him to take on Whittaker with a deadly left that sent the latter flying to the canvas. However, Whittaker was not ready to call it quits. He managed to bear the nasty blows just to give a comeback. The final round was quite a challenge for “Soldier of God” as he tried all his explosive moves to seal the non-title deal. The home player thrashed a right hook and darted on him aggressively in a pursuit to put an end to Whittaker’s reign. However, despite his desperate attempts, he couldn’t please the judges.
Though Romero’s win would have created a frenzy amongst home fans, it would have had led to two problems. Defeating a champion in a non-title bout would have given the Cuban another chance to sweat out on the scale.
But tis had not meant to be. With Whittaker the current champ, there are some enticing fights lined up for him. The most probable options right now for the Aussie fighter are former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, who would only be making a comeback if he has fully recovered from his thumb injury, and Kelvin Gastelum.
Let me start with showing respect to @yoelromeromma and his team. That was the hardest fight of my career and it was a war. Last night was my night though and I must say thanks to all the people that made it possible for me to go out there and perform. Thanks to my coaches Fabricio Itte, Alex Prates, Justin Fitzgerald, Justin Lang and Stu McKinnon for the work they put in day in day out. Also huge shout out to the boys and girls at @graciejiujitsusmeatongrange , @standstrongboxing , @liveathletic_ep and @bulldoggymcastlehill . Thank you to my manager Titus Day @6_degrees_group for making all the extra work run smoothly so I can have full focus on the fight. Thank you to all my sponsors @kaplan_homes @musclemealsdirect @musashinutrition @20foursports @bethesda @unibet . Lastly a big thanks to my family, friends and Fans, especially my wife @sofiamareewhittaker for looking after me and making this week real easy. I didn’t need to take the fight but I told you I would give you fireworks…hope you liked them ??
Recap Of The Fight
Round 1 (Whittaker 10-9): The champ seems undeterred by attacks from former No. 1 Romero. His carefully targeted moves caused the Cuban some pain. Though the home player seemed to be saving the best till last, he clearly needs to be more proactive in the second round to keep the reins of the fight in his hand.
Round 2 (Whittaker 10-9, 20-18): In the second round Romero appears in a lethal form. However, with his moves to shatter his opponent, he still wasn’t as good as the fighter from home down under. Whittaker doesn’t seem short of shots and makes them unpredictably lethal by executing a unique combination every time. A devastating blow from the Reaper causes an injury to Romero’s eye.
Round 3 (Romero 10-9, 29-28): Romero needs a clap at the back for his surprising comeback in R3. His defining left hand landed Whittaker flat on the canvas followed by disastrous uppercuts. But Whittaker had a rock-solid determination and forced head kicks on his rival.
Round 4 (Whittaker 10-9 39-37): This round was mostly dominated by Whittaker as he continued his bombardment of toxic combos, while the home player opted to save his best form for the last.
Round 5 (Romero 10-9, 48-47): Romero unleashed his fury in the last round, brutally rocking Whittaker with a right hook. The Cuban artist left no stone unturned to bag a victory. However, the Aussie survived all his attacks, sealing the final win.
Result: Whittaker by Spilt Decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47).