Robert Whittaker beats Yoel Romero by split decision in Chicago

Yoel Romero Robert Whittaker

Yoel Romero Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker kicks Yoel Romero.

Romero was supposed to fight Luke Rockhold for the interim middleweight title at UFC 221.

Or Romero will derail the New Zealand fighter and force the UFC to make a decision.

"There wouldn't be a fight", Whittaker said.

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker easily hit the mark, but after a hard cut, his opponent, Yoel Romero did not. He won in the way he often wins, which is to say he looked bored and perhaps just a little bit sleepy right up until the moment he turned into Incredible Hulk Romero and left Rockhold on the canvas, trying to claw his way back to consciousness.

Whittaker controlled the first two rounds and shaded the fourth, but was clearly hurt in both the third and fifth.

The fight was in jeopardy when Romero missed weight at 185 pounds Friday morning.

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The 41-year-old Cuban's recent struggles come on the heels of an eight-fight win streak that began with an impressive opening-round KO of Clifford Starks in his promotional debut at UFC on Fox 7 in January 2013.

However, Whittaker posted to Twitter following the weigh-in, with his message all but confirming his intention to fight Romero.

Romero started the third frame with desperation coursing through his veins, attacking wildly, and it worked.

Two judges scored the fight 48-47 to the Australian and their colleague had Romero winning by the same total. "Chaos" won the fight largely by outdoing dos Anjos at his own game: employing a relentless, hyper-aggressive wrestling attack against the fence in all five rounds, never appearing to allow "RDA" space or time to breathe.

This card featured five current and former UFC champions in front of a sold-out United Center crowd. Also, former WWE star CM Punk enters the octagon once again and will battle Mike Jackson. "The Truth" stung Brooks on the feet, then landed in his guard, where he punched him at will for two full minutes, leaving his face a swollen, bruised mess.

Holly Holm fights Megan Anderson in a bout that could determine women's featherweight champion Cris Cyborg's next opponent.

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