Whittaker has landed at least one knockdown in six of his 12 career UFC fights, while Romero has had at least one in six of his 11 starts in UFC and Strikeforce. Romero was one pound over in the first weigh-in, then.2 over in the second and final weigh-in. On Saturday, the 41-year-old Cuban gets another shot at Whittaker, and he's made it clear that this time, he's looking for a stoppage.
"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". Yes, he is older now, but he's an experienced athlete when it comes to cutting weight.
Whittaker was the early aggressor, landing frequently with hand and foot, in the first, while Romero struggled to find his range.
Romero, who also failed to make the limit for his last fight in Perth in February, will have to hand over a percentage of his purse to Whittaker. Fortunately for Romero, his corner was able to relieve some of the swelling between rounds. Two judges scored the contest 48-47 for Whittaker, while a third had it 48-47 for Romero. Romero swarmed Whittaker in an effort polish his opponent off but Whittaker unleashed a short elbow that almost cut the lights off on Romero. Romero knocked out Rockhold in the second round. The oblique kicks continued from Whittaker while Romero looked for opportunities to explode.
Whittaker was down again in the fifth but held on for a remarkable and tough victory, his second over Romero. Had Romero (13-3) won the bout, it would have thrown the 185-pound division into a weird state, as the official champion would have been coming off a loss. But on this night, Whittaker's win was more about survival; he was lucky to see the end of the fight.
It was a narrow escape from Whittaker but the champion demonstrated that he possessed the mettle to be world champion. So you'd have a situation where the champion isn't taken seriously because he just lost a fight, and you can't book him against the guy that beat him because the guy that beat him can't get his act together and make weight like a professional athlete.