UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero ran back their classic UFC 213 fight Saturday night at UFC 225, and had the honor of doing it on one of the most stacked events in recent MMA history.
The path to facing each other again was a winding one. Whittaker defeated Romero last July for the interim UFC Middleweight Championship because original champion Michael Bisping had been inactive. When Bisping lost his championship to Georges St-Pierre, GSP would soon vacate it due to complications with colitis. Whittaker was promoted to undisputed champion, while Romero earned his shot at a rematch by knocking out Luke Rockhold.
The fight, as it turned out, was a non title affair, as Yoel Romero missed the championship weight on Friday, eliminating his chance at the title.
You could almost call it poetic, as Robert Whittaker opened the fight with a series of lighting quick oblique kicks, the same technique used by Romero to injure him in their first fight last year. After effectively piecing up Romero for the first two rounds, Romero's right eye was swollen shut, which his corner worked on.
The third round saw Yoel Romero crack Whittaker and swarm him, a truly horrifying thing to be on the receiving end of. A back and forth round, which could very well be among the best in UFC history saw Whittaker find a home with elbows and a head kick. Round four was Whittaker's until the final thirty seconds when Romero slugged him with two big strikes, as it became evident Robert Whittaker had a right hand injury.
Round five was Romero's best effort, dropping Whittaker and following up by mandhandling the champion on the way to the scorecards.
Whittaker took home the split decision, and admitted that he busted his hand early in the fight.