UFC 213 fight card primer: Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whittaker

Get the Full StoryBloody Elbow presents its fight primer coverage for UFC 213. Here, we look at the main event, an interim middleweight title fight between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker. The main event thanks to the late cancellation of Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko of UFC 213 on Saturday, July 8th sees Yoel Romero 13-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC and Robert Whittaker 18-4 MMA, 9-2 UFC vie for the UFC s interim middleweight title. Reigning champion Michael Bisping has been sidelined due to injury, hence yet another interim belt created by the UFC. It is assumed that the winner of this fight will be next for The Count, although that s obviously subject to change.

Neither man has experienced defeat at 185 lbs, with Romero dropping down from light heavyweight, while Whittaker moved up from welterweight. Their styles may contrast but they re both extremely heavy-hitters who are capable of the KO at any given moment, which is what makes this fight so intriguing. UFC 213: Romero vs. Whittaker airs live on pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, beginning at 10 PM ET 7 PM PT. The prelims are available to watch on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM ET 5 PM PT, but action first kicks off on UFC Fight Pass at 6:30 PM ET 3:30 PM PT.

How do these two stack up?

Romero: 40 years old 5 10" 73.5" reachWhittaker: 26 years old 5 11" 73.5" reach

What have these two done recently?

Romero: W - Chris Weidman TKO W - Ronaldo Souza SD W - Lyoto Machida KO Whittaker: W - Ronaldo Souza TKO W - Derek Brunson TKO W - Rafael Natal UD

How did these two get here?

Cuba s Romero has been an absolute force in combat sports for essentially the entire millennium, dating back to the silver medal he won in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Olympics. As an MMA fighter, he s been sensational and one of the most feared knockout specialists in the business, as many contenders and former champions have found out. In his most recent fight against Chris Weidman at UFC 205, Romero uncorked a perfect flying knee that busted Weidman s face up, and follow-up strikes sealed a terrific win for him. He has recorded a staggering five T KO wins in the third round during his UFC career, and after eight straight victories, he s finally getting a title fight, albeit an interim one.

Australia s Whittaker won TUF Smashes way back in 2012 as a welterweight, but after mixed results in that weight class, including a TKO loss to Stephen Thompson, he made the decision to go to 185. I d say that switch has paid off brilliantly. Four of his six wins in the division have come by T KO, including a sterling performance against Jacare Souza at UFC on FOX 24 in April. He also engaged in an incredible one-round slugfest against Derek Brunson last November, finishing Brunson with a head kick and punches, just like he did to Souza. Whittaker s takedown defense has been iron clad thus far, but he hasn t come up against an opponent with the wrestling credentials of Romero, who has ragdolled numerous foes in the past. On the other hand, Romero has been rocked in the past and Whittaker s boxing has proven to be truly special.

Why should you care?

It s one of the very best, most entertaining middleweights fights you could possibly book, and it promises to be a terrific encounter.