(This post first appeared on MMAFrenzy.)
If following last night’s headliner at UFC 225 between Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, you believe a third fight is in order, well, it looks like that might not happen.
If you watched the contest, then you know it was one of the best middleweight bouts in recent memory. Whittaker outscored Romero in the opening two rounds, but in round three, the latter decked the champ before he recovered and returned fire. Round four was competitive, but round five was pretty much a blow out for Romero, who dropped Whittaker again and appeared to be on the verge of finishing the fight. In fact, many folks have opined that the round should have been scored a 10 – 8 for Romero (via the new scoring rules). None of the judges, however, did so. Whittaker walked away from the bout with a controversial, split decision win.
Well, as you know, even if Romero had been handed the decision, he wouldn’t have been given the belt, since he came in at 185.2 for the fight. It was a repeat from what went down in February, when Romero didn’t secure the interim title after knocking out Luke Rockhold, because he missed weight for that fight as well.
After the card, White was asked if he still believes Romero should move to 205. Prior to the card, the UFC President had said he thinks that’s what the Cuban wrestler should do. White stood by that belief at the post-fight presser.
“Probably a good idea. We’re going to have to talk to him and his team, and it’s probably a good idea for him to go to 205. “
But is this really the route the UFC should go? Should they pass on Whittaker – Romero 3? Considering how last night’s bout unfolded? Yes, Romero missed weight, and he looked horrible after making his second attempt. But, the fighter has insisted his cut was stopped prematurely by the commission. Of course, health concerns need to be monitored here, but has the UFC thoroughly vetted what happened ? To conclude the book should be closed on Romero’s run at 185?
Now, another reason one could make the case for Whittaker – Romero III is due to the state of the middleweight division. When White was asked about the status of Chris Weidman and Kelvin Gastelum, really, the only two 185’ers right now who you could tap for a title fight, he said this:
“Weidman’s still hurt; his hands still messed up. So he’s going to be out for a while longer.”
“No comment on Kelvin Gastelum. He should have been the back-up here tonight when this all went down. He couldn’t do it. He’s got some personal issues that he seriously needs to take care of.”
So, depending on what issue Gastelum is dealing with, perhaps, the former welterweight contender could be a possibility in the not too distant future. But, would that fight draw more views that Whittaker – Romero III? That’s a good question.
At the end of the day, as the news cycle moves on, and Whittaker takes times to recover from a broken hand, calls for a third bout with Romero will have likely diminished. It’s just really unfortunate that Romero missed weight again, as, in a vacuum, a third scrap between the two sounds about right.