Robert Whittaker addresses Yoel Romero on Twitter after UFC 221

Robert Whittaker addresses Yoel Romero on Twitter after UFC 221

First, the man named middleweight champion after Georges St-Pierre vacated the belt without defending it, Robert Whittaker, contracted a staph infection in his stomach and was forced to withdraw from his first title defense against Luke Rockhold. Against Rockhold, the Cuban native looked to rebound from his decision loss to Whittaker in their initial interim title fight at UFC 213 in July 2017. It was an interesting match-up on paper, as Romero would likely look to get Rockhold out of the bout early, having accepted the fight on short notice.

Rockhold and Romero eventually agreed to fight shortly before the card was scheduled to begin. The former middleweight champion crumpled to the canvas where he froze and Romero pounced to deliver one more sickening shot before the fight was called off by referee Marc Goddard. Rockhold has the more well-rounded game, but Romero has the more unsafe power.

Rockhold (16-4) applied the pressure in Round 1 in his attempt to break down his opponent and claim the interim belt.

After threatening with his signature question mark kick, Rockhold connected with another thunderous leg kick to Romero's lead leg before darting away from an overhand left.

That may sound like a lot of time, but for a big, muscular guy like Romero, who is also 40 years of age, it wasn't an easy task. But injuries are part of the sport and Whittaker got injured.

"The weight situation, I don't think that's going to play into it (when it comes to a title shot)", Shaw said after the event.

"I want to say I am so sorry that cutting weight was so bad for me", Romero (13-2) said.

And on fight night, Romero dished out a vicious knockout to beat the former Strikeforce middleweight champion.

Three main-card fighters: Curtis Blaydes, Tyson Pedro and Tai Tuivasa spoke to media following their performance inside the Octagon. "With the takedowns and everything else it's really hard to stop them getting it to the ground, but striking wise we're pound for pound with the best fighters in the world". Rockhold could have won the title, had he won the fight. "It messed up my plans for the weight cut a little bit".