Whittaker Wins Interim Middleweight Belt

Robert Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero via unanimous decision, coming back from down two rounds to sweep the judges’ scorecards with 48-47 scores, to win the UFC interim middleweight championship in the main event of UFC 213 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

While the first round may have been the closest, many gave it to Romero for doing more damage, including a clear injury to Whittaker’s leg. Whittaker tried his best to hold down Romero and neutralize his activity throughout the second round, but Romero was clearly on the aggressive in terms of grappling, and Romero emphasized winning the round with a late takedown.

After the 90-second mark of the third round, however, Romero’s punches and offensive activity seemed to just suddenly stop coming. This may have proven to be the turning point of the bout, as Romero essentially taking the bout off let Whittaker throw as much as he could to win the round. Throughout the last two rounds, Whittaker managed to rock Romero a few times and almost got a finish once or twice, completing the comeback.

Whittaker is now the first UFC fighter born in Australia or New Zealand to win a championship.

Romero vs. Whittaker was scheduled to be the co-main event, as Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC women’s bantamweight title was canceled after Nunes was taken to a hospital for an illness, linked to a bad weight cut.

Main Card (10 p.m. ET, PPV)
UFC interim Middleweight Championship: Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem def. Fabricio Werdum via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Curtis Blaydes def. Daniel Omielanczuk via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Lightweight: Anthony Pettis def. Jim Miller via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bantamweight: Rob Font def. Douglas Silva de Andrade via submission (guillotine choke) (Rd. 2, 4:36)

Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)
Hevayweight: Oleksiy Oliynyk def. Travis Browne via submission (rear-naked choke) (Rd. 2, 3:44)
Welterweight: Chad Laprise def. Brian Camozzi via TKO (Rd. 3, 1:27)
Middleweight: Thiago Santos def. Gerald Meerschaert via TKO (Rd. 2, 2:04)
Welterweight: Belal Muhammad def. Jordan Mein via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Early Prelims Card (7 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Pass)
Featherweight: Cody Stamann def. Terrion Ware via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Light Heavyweight: Trevin Giles def. James Bochnovic via KO (Rd. 2, 2:54)

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