Whittaker to defend title against Romero at UFC 225
Australia’s UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will have his much-anticipated first title defence and rematch with Cuban star Yoel Romero in June in Chicago.
It looms as a massive couple of months for the 27-year-old Sydneysider, who will also represent Australia in wrestling at April’s Commonwealth Games.
He will fight Romero at the United Center in the headline bout of UFC 225 on June 10 (Australian time).
Whittaker won the UFC interim title with a five-round unanimous decision over Romero last July in Las Vegas.
The main middleweight champion at that time, Englishman Michael Bisping, who was injured, then lost his title to Canadian Georges St Pierre.
However, he vacated the title after revealing he was suffering ulcerative colitis.
Whittaker was upgraded to the status of full champion, but a first defence against American Luke Rockhold, scheduled last month for Perth, was cancelled after he fell ill.
Romero replaced him and defeated Rockhold in spectacular fashion, but didn’t earn the interim title on the line that day, as he came in over the weight limit.
However, 40-year-old No.1 contender Romero – winner of a wrestling silver medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics – has been given first crack at dethroning Whittaker.
The Australian hasn’t had a UFC fight since their first bout, which he won despite suffering an injury in that contest, but he qualified last November for the Commonwealth Games team.
New Zealand-born Whittaker is No.11 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings.