UFC 213 - Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker vs Yoel "Soldier of God" Romero
Saturday, July 8th
7:00 PM PST
10:00 PM EST
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Most Feared Men at Middleweight Collide in this 5 Round Co-Main Event!
Robert 'The Reaper' Whittaker:
...also known as Bobby Knuckles is the New Zealand-born Australian Karate black belt. He will be fighting for his first title come UFC 213, and he has earned his shot with the second-best win streak in his division. After a rough start at welterweight, Robert moved up a weight class and dominated the ranks with 7 straight wins, 4 coming by way of finish. The striking prowess of this karateka has been proven time and time again with his unorthodox footwork and devastating left hand. The ability to switch stances and land high kicks off the back foot is a technique 'The Reaper' has perfected; Jacare Souza and Derek Bruson found out first hand the crafty and explosive delivery of this kick as both were fell with the same blow.
After the loss to 'Wonderboy' Thompson at 170 pounds, there were questions and uncertainty about this man's future, but at 185 he is revitalized and is looking more evolved with every bout. He destroyed the long-time number one contender in his last fight, and has only dominated the top 15 of this division. We can expect to see Robert looking sharp and ready for victory: he has made it clear that the belt is his only goal.
Yoel 'Soldier of God' Romero:
A savage Cuban Olympian bred from the old school; Yoel has changed the landscape of mixed martial arts for good since his arrival. Yoel possesses an Olympic Silver Medal as well as multiple wins over arguably the greatest wrestler of all time in Cael Sanderson. The trips and takedowns of this fighter come at will, and no man at middleweight can stop the transgressions of his grappling. The 'Soldier of God' is a flashy fighter who embraces the chaos of a brawl, and waits for his exact moment to strike in extravagant fashion. Flying knees, spinning back fists and leaping elbows are what makes Romero dangerous, he has an unorthodox and fearless nature in the cage that can't be copied.
It is a marvel seeing a man of near 40 years old accomplish victories in the Octagon the way he does; finishing top contender Chris Weidman with the flying knee he delivered was a shocking yet marvelous feat. This is hands down the most lethal fighter at middleweight, Yoel is not to be questioned in terms of power or ability to finish. Precaution is an understatement when dealing with his his volatility and explosiveness, be ready for action come fight time!
Breakdown and Prediction:
This interim bout is considered to true fans as the real middleweight title fight; these are the two most dangerous men at middleweight with the most clashing of styles. 'The Reaper' will engage from distance and try to pick apart the Cuban Missile in front of him. This is a five round fight in which both men will be highly conditioned, I wouldn't expect to see a finish until the much later rounds...if there is a finish at all.
Whittaker has a style the judges appreciate, and he will most likely steal rounds if he is able to avoid the heavy damage coming from his opponent. Romero is a 'one and done type' of striker, he will deliver creative and power blows, but they will not come as swiftly nor as often as they may need to. The elaborate and labored delivery of Romero's trips and take downs may sap his conditioning at a rapid pace. If Whittaker is able to withstand the take downs and ground and pound early, he can start to break the older and slower man down.
This fight will deliver fireworks as both men know they need to make a statement here. This is a young and agile striker facing an older yet methodical grappler; speed vs. power, youth vs. experience. It is a true pick em' as both men have shown fight ending capabilities in most all of their fights; I expect both men to come in the best shape of their lives, and for the victor to have outlasted as opposed to outclassed. This will be a close fight until a breakaway moment in which one man becomes tired, and hurt...
Prediction: Robert 'The Reaper' Whittaker by TKO Round 4