Yesterday news came through that Robert Whittaker is set to fight Yoel Romero at UFC 213, on July 9 NZT. Whittaker and Romero will compete for the interim middleweight title belt, with this co-main event made possibly thanks to Michael Bisping being out injured and Cody Garbrandt's fight with T.J. Dillashaw put on hold as Garbrandt has been battling a back injury.
Bisping is the middleweight champion and there has been plenty of noise about a possible fight against George St. Pierre for the middleweight belt. GSP would be making his return to the UFC but nothing is set in stone just yet and with Bisping out of action for the mid-term future, the middleweight division needs an interim champ. Romero is the best candidate to fight Bisping for that belt, although Bisping vs GSP appears to have more traction and Romero still gets to stake his claim to the throne with this fight against Whittaker.
There's a need for an interim title fight for the middleweight division and the opening came after Garbrandt couldn't get over a back injury. Garbradnt recently defeated Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title and a juicy match up against former team-mate Dillashaw was all set to lead the UFC 213 card. With that fight now put on hold, Romero vs Whittaker has been made the co-main event, allowing for Amanda Nunes to defend her women's bantamweight belt against Valentina Shevchenko as the main event.
Before Whittaker took on Jacare Souza, many saw that fight as a excellent gauge of where Whittaker was at in the middleweight division and Whittaker delivered the slickest performance of his career. That bumped him up to #3 in the rankings (Romero's #1), but more importantly it sent a clear message to the division and the UFC that Whittaker was ready to make another leap forwards.
Even if you're not all-in on this fight thanks to the 'interim' tag, the fact that Romero is coming off eight straight wins and Whittaker is coming off seven straight wins should be enough to get Aotearoa and Australia excited. With Bisping unable to defend his belt, Romero is the best in the division and if Whittaker is to eventually be the undisputed champ of the middleweight division, he would most likely had to fight Romero at some stage.
Romero vs Whittaker will round off a huge #KiwiUFC month, which starts with UFC Fight Night in Auckland. Mark Hunt will fight Derrick Lewis and Dan Hooker will fight Ross Pearson, so that's our next #KiwiUFC step. To keep in a hunnit though, Romero vs Whittaker overshadows all of that and serves as the main course. Bring on the entree!
Bang an ad to donate to the Niche Cache. You'll help us out and you don't need to pay anything, chur.