To beat Yoel Romero, you have to never make a mistake. Chris Weidman learned this the hard way. So did Luke Rockhold. But middleweight champ Robert Whittaker was wise to it all, and defeated Romero by decision at UFC 193 to earn the interim middleweight title.

That interim belt turned into the real belt when Georges St-Pierre retired as champ (after never defending it), and here we are at UFC 225, with Whittaker and Romero going at it again in the main event. Romero failed to make weight, so there’s no belt up for grabs, but whatever.

No mistakes. That’s Whittaker in the first round, as he maintains distance with kicks and scores with punches. The Cuban Olympic wrestler seems content to wait for an opening to counter and explode, but none really come. Ditto for Round 2. Whittaker is playing this one safe, and Romero is a coiled serpent who forgot how to strike.

It’s not until the third round does Romero seize upon an opening, and when he drops Whittaker with a right, it’s suddenly about the New Zealander struggling to stay alive. And he does! And Romero is exhausted from the flurry of offense he had to put forth. But he lands to Whittaker’s dome once more, and though he can’t finish things, the round clearly goes to the Cuban,

They’re back to measured fighting in the fourth, with both men firing off strikes but without any recklessness. Still, Romero’s get zest to what he’s slinging, and near the end of the round Whittaker is again dazed and confused.

The final round has Romero dropping the champ and pounding away, but Whittaker keeps moving and surviving – amazingly – and when time runs out, it goes to the judges.

Result: Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero via Split Decision