Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action for UFC 213: “Romero vs. Whittaker,” which went down last night (Sat., July 8, 2017) inside inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada airing live on pay-per-view (PPV). The promotion's latest mixed martial arts (MMA) card was supposed to be headlined by a women’s Bantamweight title fight between division queen Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko before “Lioness” was bounced from the event after she fell ill on fight day. As a result, Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker’s interim Middleweight title fight was pegged as the headliner.
Biggest winner: Robert Whittaker
And new ... interim champ! “The Reaper” now has his first UFC title after outworking and outclassing Yoel Romero in “Sin City” (see it again here), putting an end to “Soldier of God’s” perfect run inside the Octagon, as well as his title hopes. Whittaker was simply too much for the wrestling powerhouse, who couldn’t capitalize on his bum knee throughout the fight. It gave Whittaker the opportunities he needed to land his shots and pull away the clear cut unanimous decision win. And while the interim belt is nice and all, you can bet Whittaker is a bit happier knowing he will get his chance to put hands on reigning division champion, Michael Bisping, later this year for the chance to unify the straps. Unless of course, this fight somehow manages to go take place first.
Runner Up: Anthony Pettis
“Showtime” needed a win in the biggest way as the former Lightweight champion returned to his old stomping grounds at UFC 213, fighting at 155 pounds for the first time since suffering three straight defeats in the division. And after having a terrible run at Featherweight, where he went 1-1, including losing an interim title fight to Max Holloway, Pettis can breathe easy knowing he’s back in the win column at 155 pounds. Or at all, for that matter. His dominant victory over Jim Miller (recap) likely won’t be enough to shoot him up the upper tier of the ranks, but it will, at the very least, get him a more high profile fight in his next outing. Baby steps.
Biggest Loser: Travis Browne
It hasn’t been a good couple of years for “Hapa,” as he has now lost four in a row, including his latest setback against Alexey Oliynyk, who submitted the towering Heavyweight in the second round of the “Prelims” headlining bout (see it). And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the his troubles all began when he left Jackson-Winkeljohn to join Glendale Fight Club in California. What the future holds for “Hapa” is unclear, as the promotion will have a tough decision to make regarding one of its heavy hitters. And to hear Browne tell it, he wouldn’t be too surprised if he was let go from his roster spot.
For complete UFC 213 coverage, including play-by-play results, click here