Robert Whittaker escapes hard-hitting Yoel Romero at UFC 225

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was going to keep his belt regardless of the outcome of his UFC 225 main event bout against Yoel Romero at United Center in Chicago on Saturday night.

He certainly wasn’t going to look for an easy way out even though the title wasn’t on the line due to Romero missing weight.

Whittaker withstood several massive shots and held on for a split-decision victory in the wildly entertaining rematch of a fight Whittaker won last July to first claim the title.

“He hits like a truck,” Whittaker said after the fight. “Man, he packs some power, I’ll tell you that much. I hit him a lot. I thought I controlled three of the five rounds, but he did drop me. It was tough.”

Whittaker won the first two rounds on all three cards and was awarded the fourth by two of the three judges. Romero failed to pick up any 10-8 rounds despite a dominant final five minutes as Whittaker was bloody and appeared to be working through injuries to his hand and knee.

“It is my humble opinion that I did not lose tonight,” said Romero, who also pinned much of the blame for missing weight by two-tenths of a pound on the Illinois State Athletic Commission.

Romero’s only two losses since 2011 have come against Whittaker.

Covington victorious

Colby Covington, the living embodiment of a Twitter troll, captured the interim welterweight title with a unanimous decision win over former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos and immediately launched into his shtick.

“I’m bringing this belt to the White House and putting it on Donald Trump’s desk,” he yelled into the microphone during his postfight interview.

Covington has rocketed to notoriety through a variety of racist, sexist and jingoistic diatribes, but he has done it while winning six straight fights and now has a likely future matchup with former training partner and current welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

Holm dominates

Former women’s bantamweight champ Holly Holm may have earned herself another shot at the featherweight title as she dominated newcomer Megan Anderson, who had been targeted as a potential opponent for champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

Holm may have earned that rematch for herself with the win.

“This was an important fight,” Holm said. “I hate losing and I always feel so much pressure to get one back after I lose. This fight went how I wanted it to go. The takedowns were something a lot of people don’t know I have but I do it all the time in the gym so I decided to just let it go out there. I’ve been fighting for a long time and part of my enjoyment is growing and finding new ways to be dangerous. This fight brought that out in me.”

Tuivasa tops Arlovski

Heavyweight Tai Tuivasa remained undefeated by capturing a narrow split decision over former champion Andrei Arlovski.

Tuivasa, who had never been out of the first round in seven previous fights, improved to 3-0 in the UFC in his most challenging bout to date.

“I feel like my performance, going all three rounds, shows where I’m at in this division,” Tuivasa said. “Andrei Arlovski is a legend and a former champion. He’s one of the toughest heavyweights ever. He caught me early and cut my nose but I recovered and gave him some good ones back. This kind of fight is what I love about fighting. It’s a test. Test your endurance, test your power, test everything.“

Other fights

Mike Jackson recorded his first career victory with a unanimous decision over Phil Brooks, who formerly wrestled under the name “CM Punk” in the WWE.

It was the second career fight for Brooks, who was submitted in September 2016.

Las Vegan Claudia Gadelha highlighted the preliminary card with a split-decision win over former women’s strawweight champ Carla Esparza.

Heavyweight Curtis Blaydes extended his winning streak to five with a third-round knockout of Alistair Overeem with elbows on the mat.

Featherweight Mirsad Bektic picked up the biggest win of his career with a split decision over veteran Ricardo Lamas.

Heavyweight Chris de la Rocha outlasted Rashad Coulter in a war of attrition that was stopped late in the second round with Coulter unable to improve his position as de la Rocha grew tired of punching him.

Flyweight contender Sergio Pettis was awarded a split-decision over Las Vegan Joseph Benavidez, who was returning from injury after more than 18 months. It was the first nontitle bout loss for Benavidez since 2009.

Anthony Smith needed just 53 seconds to knock out former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who has now lost five consecutive fights.

Also on the card, Charles Oliveira submitted lightweight Clay Guida in the first round and Dan Ige needed just 50 seconds to knock out featherweight Mike Santiago.

More MMA: Follow MMA and UFC coverage at and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
Greg Hardy, former NFL star, on MMA knockout
The former NFL star needed just 17 seconds to score a knockout on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series (Adam Hill/Review-Journal)
Marlon Moraes says Henry Cejudo will regret stepping up to bantamweight - VIDEO
UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is coming up to the bantamweight division to battle Marlon Moraes for the vacant belt on June 8 at UFC 238. Moraes said Cejudo will regret going after a second title in a new division and added that he thinks his path will cross with former champion TJ Dillashaw in the future.
Paige VanZant details her arm injury, when she can return - VIDEO
UFC strawweight Paige VanZant was briefly linked to fight at UFC 236, but had to withdraw from the bout due to a broken arm. As a guest on the RJ Ringside Podcast, she detailed the injury and also spoke about joining the M-1 Global booth as a color commentator.
UFC 236 Press Conference Highlights
UFC 236 will feature a pair of interim title fights. In the main event, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway will face lightweight contender Dustin Poirier and middleweights Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will collide in the co-main event. UFC 236 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., on Apr. 13.
Jon Jones retains light heavyweight belt at UFC 235 - VIDEO
Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt when he earned a decision over Anthony Smith in the main event of UFC 235.
Kamaru Usman crowned new champ at UFC 235 — VIDEO
Kamaru Usman became the first African-born fighter to claim a UFC belt when he defeated Tyron Woodley to become the promotion's new welterweight champion.
UFC 235 Official Weigh-in Results - VIDEO
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 235 at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2 stepped on the scale prior for the official fight card weigh-ins. All four fighters competing in the title bouts slated for the event made weight.
UFC's Jones says he has no shame after recent drug test results are released - VIDEO
Though recent drug test results still show trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, UFC light heayvweight champion Jon Jones says he has no shame and is hiding nothing as he prepares for his UFC 235 title bout against Anthony Smith.
Anthony Smith stays level-headed prior to UFC 235 title fight - VIDEO
Despite UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones being in the spotlight for drug test discrepancies and other outside the cage struggles, Anthony Smith says he is tuning out the noise and remaining focused on the challenge of beating the reigning champion in the cage.
UFC 235 Media Day Highlights
Highlights and staredowns from the top three fights on the UFC 235 fight card taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on March 2.
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
Home Front Page Footer Listing