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Whittaker to defend world title at UFC 225 in June

By Matt Bungard
15 March 2018

Robert Whittaker’s year-long absence from the octagon will end in June, when he takes on Cuban Yoel Romero in his first title defence of the world middleweight championship.

The UFC announced on Thursday that Whittaker would headline UFC 225 in Chicago on June 9, a re-match of last year’s bout that saw the Australian claim a decision victory in a five-round war.

The 27-year-old was scheduled to defend his title against America’s Luke Rockhold in Perth earlier this year, but had to withdraw due to illness – leaving Romero to step up on short notice.

“It’s an accumulation of a lot of efforts from a lot of different parties,” Whittaker said afterwards. “I have the best team in the world. They’re very smart, they got me through this fight.”

As with Jeff Horn’s shock win over Manny Pacquiao in last weekend’s WBO welterweight title fight, it was left to the judges to award the fight to an Australian underdog but, unlike that clash in Brisbane, there was no controversy afterwards as Whittaker took the pivotal fifth round, and the gold.

Although the Cuban won the fight, which was to be for an interim title belt, he failed to make the 84-kilogram weight limit, and was left empty-handed despite the victory.

Photo: AAP