Robert Whittaker beats Yoel Romero by split decision in Chicago

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker says he is in best shape ever before his UFC return bout with Yoel Romero

Great. But the UFC wouldn't have been able to book him into another title fight immediately because he's already missed weight for two title fights. After a conservative start, Romero dropped Whittaker with a right hand early in the third round.

This marks the second time in a row that Romero has missed weight for a fight.

"We came here to fight for the title", Romero said after the ceremonial weigh-ins, where he received a chorus of boos from the local crowd "I came here for the title fight". Covington is a on five-fight win streak, but the past three were by unanimous decision as he bases his strategy around takedowns and grinding opponents. Romero then exploded in the third, landing a left and bringing down the champ. He finally connected with some of his patented power, knocking Whittaker to the canvas.

He floored Whittaker with a massive right-hand shot.

Romero was tentative in the first round, and Whittaker damaged his right eye in the second with a kick.

Romero (13-2), meanwhile, was sharp in his last outing on February 10, knocking out former middleweight champ Luke Rockhold with a crushing left hand.

Romero, 41, did his best to do just that.

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Romero landed several other strikes, but Whittaker survived and landed a few of his own in an epic round.

Whittaker eventually regained his feet, but Romero kneed him in the face and bludgeoned him with punches, before dragging him back to the mat.

Each man fired until the final horn, putting on a stunning display of perseverance and heart.

"There wouldn't be a fight", Whittaker said. I don't even know how that's [missing weight] a thing? He caught me in the fourth and fifth and I was just trying to survive.

"I think you do have to get on with it and move on, that's the inevitable outcome", Whittaker told ESPN.

"He was a tough fight".

However, because Yoel Romero missed weight by.2 lbs on Friday, he will not be eligible to win the promotions coveted middleweight championship. I hit him with a lot.

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