When Yoel Romero threw a sidekick to the leg of Robert Whittaker in the main event of UfC 213, it looked like Whittaker wouldn’t be able to fight like he’s accustomed. He shook off the injury and gutted it out and it was enough to defeat Romero by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) to become the interim UFC middleweight champion. Sporting News also scored the fight 48-47 for Whittaker.
“The bastard hit it and set it back weeks,” Whittaker told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview as he revealed he had hurt the leg early in training camp.
In between Rounds 1 and 2, Whittaker told his corner his leg was shot. The injury affected him in the second round, but after that, Whittaker put the injury in the back of his mind and pressed forward. By the end of the third round, he had turned the fight around, had Romero breathing heavily and used it to help him get the victory.
With the win, Whittaker becomes the first Australian to capture a UFC title.
After the fight concluded, it was announced Whittaker would take on champion Michael Bisping next in a title unification bout. The sharp-tongued Bisping didn’t hold back when he went face-to-face with the interim champ.
“The fact that you are standing there with that belt makes me sick,” Bisping said to Whittaker. He proceeded to throw down the belt at Whittaker’s feet and said, “take that motherf—.”
Here was our live coverage of UFC 213: Romero vs .Whittaker.
Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker for Interim Middleweight Championship
1:04 a.m.: Round 5 to Whittaker (10-9, 48-47 Whittaker). Whittaker came out with a little more pep in his step to begin the final round. Romero and Whittaker got exhausted halfway through the round. They persevered through it and kept giving everything they could. Whittaker landed the harder shots and key takedown with about 90 seconds left. He landed sharp elbows and tried to transition and finish the fight.
12:57 a.m.: Round 4 to Whittaker (10-9, 38-38). Didn’t look good for Whittaker in the beginning of the round when Romero got another takedown. Whittaker took his time though and got back to his feet. While bouncing up and down, Whittaker’s knee gave out but Romero couldn’t capitalize. Whittaker went back to the push kick. He wobbled Romero with a vicious left hook but couldn’t finish him off. Romero is gassing out right in front of our eyes. It’s anyone’s fight heading into the final round.
12:52 a.m.: Round 3 to Whittaker (10-9, 29-28). I don’t know what Romero was thinking going into the third round but he handed it to Whittaker on a silver platter. He did next to nothing. Give Whittaker credit though, he looked more fluid, threw a lot of push kicks and started to land with the left hand. Could see Romero breathing heavily out of his mouth as the round came to a close.
12:45 a.m.: Round 2 to Romero (10-9, 20-18). You can see the leg affecting Whittaker. He isn’t able to put full energy into his punches and when Romero took him down the first time, Whittaker should have been able to pop up quicker than he did. Romero’s winning this with his wrestling and not having to exert too much energy where cardio’s been an issue for him in the past.
12:39: Round 1 to Romero (10-9) . A tough first round to score. Usually Romero likes to gauge distance in the first round but he came out the aggressor. He threw different types of kicks and scored two takedowns. Whittaker has a cut on his foot. He told his trainer’s after the round that his leg is shot. Let’s see how it affects Whittaker.
12:29 a.m.: Camera showed Romero’s back while his coach was talking to him and showed Bisping staring a hole through Romero.
12:27 a.m.: Romero now making the walk to the cage to a smattering of cheers.
12:23 a.m.: Loud ovation as Whittaker makes the walk to the octagon.
12:22 a.m.: It is time for the main event of UFC 213, for the interim middleweight title as Yoel Romero battles Robert Whittaker. Who walks out of Sin City the interim champ and to go on and face titleholder Michael Bisping?
12:16 a.m.: An unbelievable promotional video for Jones vs. Cormier. Really like how the UFC went back through all of Jones’ transgressions and what led him back to fighting for the title at UFC 214. Great job by the production team of the UFC.
Alistair Overeem wins narrow majority decision over Fabricio Werdum
12:11 a.m.: Overeem escapes with a majority decision over Werdum (28-28, 29-28, 29-28). It all came down to the first round. Overeem clearly won the second and Werdum the third. Based off off of that, one judge scored the first a 10-10 which doesn’t happen too often. Werdum had a golden opportunity on the third round when he got a takedown and did little to nothing. Amazing Werdum did nothing. He’s the premiere jiujitsu fighter in the world, had a chance to put himself in position to win and did nothing. Werdum has no one to blame but himself for the loss. The crowd booed Overeem after the fight but looking at the bout objectively, the Las Vegas crowd sneered the wrong way.
12:07 a.m.: Baffled on why Werdum didn’t try for any submissions. Looked to be content to ride out the round.
12:05 a.m.: A huge knee from Werdum to begin the third round wobbles Overeem, who gets on top of Werdum and gets the fight back to the feet. Werdum connects again with left and right hands, gets a huge takedown. Overeem is in trouble. Needs to find an escape.
12:03 a.m.: Much better second round for Overeem. Landed the heavier shots and was more effective . Don’t understand what Werdum is doing. Very hesitant. Needs to step it up in the third round.
11:58 p.m.: No reason for Werdum to pull guard. Shocked Overeem went to the ground with him but held up well.
11:55 p.m.: An interesting first round. Werdum kept the fight on feet where he has a significant ground advantage being a black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and Overeem played the role of a counter striker. Overeem landed the harder shots but needs to be more active.
11:45 p.m.: In the co-main event of UFC 213, in heavyweight action, No. 1 ranked and former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum goes up against No. 3 ranked and former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem in a trilogy fight. Werdum won the first fight in May 2006 at Pride FC – Total Elimination Absolute by first-round submission. Five years later, Overeem avenged the loss, this time under the Strikeforce banner, winning a lackluster decision. It isn’t the trilogy bout MMA fans were looking forward to but here we are.
Curtis Blaydes defeats Daniel Omielanczuk by unanimous decision
11:39 p.m.: Blaydes wins over Omielanczuk by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). The fight wasn’t the most exciting but a win is a win. Remember, this is only Blaydes’ ninth career fight. He was facing a guy in Omielanczuk who was entering his 28th career fight. Cage time trumps everything. Blaydes got that and he moves onto bigger things in the heavyweight division.
11:28 p.m.: Not a lot of action Omielanczuk or Blaydes in the second round. Neither has been able to take control of the second round. The most action is the commotion going on in the crowd with them booing loudly as the round came to a close.
11:25 p.m.: Good takedown defense by Omielanczuk in the first round. Blaydes is picking him apart on the feet and needs to ignite some offense or Blaydes can do this all day.
11:13 p.m.: Coming up next at UFC 213, in heavyweight action, No. 15 ranked Daniel Omielanczuk battles Curtis Blaydes. Omielanczuk has nine first-round finishes and nine wins by submission. Blaydes’ won back-to-back fights with his only loss to top heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou. All six of his career victories have come by stoppage. A good test for the young Blaydes to see how far he is and what he can be.
Anthony Pettis nets first win in two and half years over Jim Miller
11:06 p.m.: Pettis defeats Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Very complete performance from Pettis. He showed the full arsenal. Pettis mixed up his strikes, used his grappling to keep Miller at bay. He looked like the fighter who reigned supreme over the lightweight division. It’s his first win since UFC 181 and needs to rack up another two, three wins to get back into the title conversation.
10:56 p.m.: Highly entertaining second round. Some great ground work from Miller and Pettis and blood pouring from Miller’s face. Pettis appears to be up two rounds. Miller needs to come up with something big.
10:52 p.m.: Miller gushing blood from a vicious elbow from Pettis. High caliber good ground work by Miller and Pettis in the second round.
10:50 p.m.: A great first round for Pettis. He mixed up his strikes, kept his distance, got into the inside when he wanted too and kept making Miller reach for him. Miller needs to come right at Pettis and start looking for the takedown.
10:46 p.m.: Lots of previews for UFC 214 on July 29 featuring three title fights: Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 for the light heavyweight title, Cris Cyborg vs. Tonya Evinger for the vacant women’s featherweight title and Tyron Woodley vs. Demian Maia for the welterweight title.
10:40 p.m.: Up next at UFC 213, in lightweight action, former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis faces Jim Miller. This is a must-win for Pettis. He’s lost four of his last five and is moving back up to 155 pounds after a failed stint at featherweight, in where he missed weight for an interim title bout against current champion Max Holloway at UFC 206 back in December. After losing back-to-back fights, Miller’s strung together three consecutive victories. Big fight for both here. Who wants it more?
Rob Font chokes out Douglas Silva de Andrade
10:29 p.m.: This was all Font beginning to end. de Andrade had no answer for the constant pressure Font brought throughout the fight. Font mixed up his combinations and ground work very well. The end came when Font connected on a right hook which dropped de Andrade to the canvas. Font pounced on the opportunity, grabbed the guillotine choke, locked it in and de Andrade had no choice but to tap out. Font has won back-to-back fights and four of his last five and without a doubt move up in the rankings.
10:23 p.m.: Great first round by Font. Did a good job of attacking de Andrade with combinations.
10:19 p.m.: At the end of a great combination by Font, he poked de Andrade in the eye. Fighters need to learn to keep the fist closed.
10:12 p.m.: To kickoff the main card at UFC 213, in bantamweight action, No. 15 ranked Rob Font goes up against Douglas Silva de Andrade. This fight got bumped up to the main card when the Nunes vs. Shevchenko was pulled. Font has won three of last four fights while de Andrade sports a 24-1 record, winning back-to-back fights after losing in his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 36 back in Feb. 2014. Great way to kickoff the main card.
10:00 p.m.: UFC 213 PPV main card is about begin from the T-Mobile Arena The main event features a bout for the interim featherweight title as No. 1 ranked Yoel Romero goes up against No. 3 ranked Robert Whittaker. Grab your refreshments now and enjoy Sporting News’ live coverage of UFC 213.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, “The Fight Junkies” here . You can email him at [email protected] and can find him on Twitter@SMuehlhausenMMA .