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Robert Whittaker edges Romero, grabs interim belt at UFC 213

LAS VEGAS — Robert Whittaker won the UFC interim middleweight title Saturday night, surging in the late rounds to earn a unanimous decision over Yoel Romero at UFC 213.

Whittaker (20-4) recovered from a hyperextended knee in the first round with a strong striking performance, peppering Romero (12-2) with punches and kicks over the final three rounds. The Australian won his eighth consecutive fight, earning the victory 48-47 on all three judges’ scorecards at T-Mobile Arena.

Robert Whittaker celebrates after defeating Yoel Romero in a middleweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
“It’s a moment I’ve always dreamed of,” Whittaker said. “My knee was definitely hurt. I injured it in camp, and Romero’s kick set it back weeks. I know that Romero will capitalize on any weakness he sees, so I had to play it off. That’s just what champions are made of."

The main event of the UFC’s traditional July showcase in its hometown was canceled earlier in the day when bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was hospitalized. She was scratched from her second title defense against Valentina Shevchenko, who criticized the champion’s preparation for the bout.

Alistair Overeem also beat Fabricio Werdum by narrow majority decision in the third career meeting of two veteran heavyweights, and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis also returned to the division with a unanimous decision victory over Jim Miller.

Whittaker took advantage of his bout’s promotion to the main event by claiming the belt in front of a pay-per-view audience. He earned the chance to fight for the full 185-pound title held for the past year by Michael Bisping, who is injured.

Source: http://sports.inquirer.net/255644/robert-whittaker-edges-romero-grabs-interim-belt-ufc-213

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