Robert Whittaker won a season of international TUF, but don’t hold that against him. He’s actually gotten really good, and took out none other than Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in his last fight. Yoel Romero has been a shady individual at times, failing a drug test and doing some questionable things in the cage, but whatever, he took out Chris Weidman, so if an interim middleweight belt needs to be fought over, it might as well be Whittaker and Romero who fight for it.
Ladies and gentlemen (just kidding, only men read this website), here’s your UFC 213 main event (thanks to Amanda Nunes falling ill).
Given his strong wrestling, it’s no surprise that Romero looks to wrest his foe to the floor in the first round – and he’s soon successful, forcing Whittaker to avoid getting his back taken while wall-walking up. In return, Whittaker fires kicks down the middle, and tries to land punches without opening himself up for a takedown.
Romero comes out swinging in the second, and ducks under a punch to nail a takedown. It takes some doing, but soon Whittaker works back up, and it’s a slow, methodical grind against the cage. Eventually they’re restarted in the center, and Romero ends on top after hitting a sweep. For that, the Cuban probably takes the round.
Round 3 sees Whittaker finally finding his range, and his kicks are now accurate and scoring. Romero’s response is to swing back and try to tie things up, but he’s slowing, and the tide of battle has turned.
A takedown comes early in the fourth, and after some hella scrambling, Whittaker is eventually able to get Romero off of him. The TUF winner keeps at it with his kicks and punches, and they continue to land and Romero continues to huff and puff and reach for takedowns.
Both men are wearing the effects of the grueling fight by the time the fifth round begins, but Whittaker is just too full of vinegar for Romero, with the New Zealander’s output greater and more effect than the Cuban’s. After three minutes, Whittaker even kicks Romero’s legs out from under him, and when Whittaker settles on top of him, that’s it for the scorecards.
Results: Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero via Unanimous Decision