Yoel Romero had the explosive moments in the fight, but Robert Whittaker had the consistency throughout five bloody rounds.
In the end, the official score card ruled in favor of Whittaker, who defeated Romero via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) Saturday night at UFC 225’s main event in a memorable rematch of last summer’s brawl at UFC 213.
Whittaker carried the fight in the first two rounds, out-striking Romero 62-29, according to Fight Metric, and tagging the Cuban with a strike that caused swelling in his eye and made it difficult for him to see.
In the third round, Romero came alive by delivering a series of significant blows that nearly could’ve ended the fight. However, Whittaker showed resilience and toughness and was able to withstand Romero’s onslaught until the end of the round.
Both fighters appeared exhausted in the fourth round and Whittaker was able to regain composure and control most of the round. Romero had a few big moments toward the end of the fourth and he was able to carry that consistency into the fifth, where he absolutely dominated Whittaker and led some to believe that he should’ve received a 10-8 score from officials in the round.
Romero’s late push wasn’t enough, though, as only one official scored in his favor. The fourth round was the only one in which the officials scored differently.
This marks the second time Whittaker has defeated Romero in a closely contested bout. The Australian went five rounds with Romero at UFC 213 last summer in the interim middleweight title bout. Saturday night’s bout was originally supposed to be for the middleweight belt, but after Romero missed weight by 0.2 pounds on Friday, the UFC turned the fight into a five-round, non-title bout.
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, Colby Covington captured the interim welterweight belt, defeating Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision. After the fight, Covington stood by his promise to present the belt to President Donald Trump.
Here are the full results from a wild night in Chicago:
Robert Whittaker def. Yoel Romero via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Colby Covington def. Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Holly Holm def. Megan Anderson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Tai Tuivasa def. Andrei Arlovski via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Jackson def. CM Punk via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Curtis Blaydes def. Alistair Overeem via TKO (third round, 2:56)
Claudia Gadelha def. Carla Esparza via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Mirsad Bektic def. Ricardo Lamas via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Chris de la Rocha def. Rashad Coulter via TKO (second round, 3:53)
FIGHT PASS PRELIMS:
Anthony Smith def. Rashad Evans via KO (first round, 0:53)
Sergio Pettis def. Joseph Benavidez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Charles Oliveira def. Clay Guida via submission (first round, 2:18)
Dan Ige def. Mike Santiago via TKO (first round, 0:50)
Thumbnail photo via Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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