Whittaker: I was just trying to survive

Robert Whittaker may have come out on top in his second battle against Yoel Romero in their UFC middleweight fight on Saturday night in Chicago, but it will take him a while to recover after a savage pounding from his Cuban opponent.

The Australian edged Romero on a controversial split decision after the judges scored it 48-47, 48-47, 47-48 in Whittaker’s favour after an epic fight that could have gone either way.

After controlling the first two rounds, Whittaker was rocked in the third when Romero caught him flush with a right hand early in the third round. He recovered to just shade the fourth, but was badly hurt again and hanging on in the fifth.

Whittaker, who was taken to hospital after the fight, later acknowledged the Cuban’s power and admitted that Romero had him in trouble near the end of the fight.

“He hits like a truck! I know he looks weak, but he has some power. He caught me in the fourth, in the fifth, and I was just trying to survive. I thought I controlled three of the five rounds, but he caught me in the fourth and the fifth,” said Whittaker.

“He was a tough fight. I’m just gonna go back and talk to my team, see where the journey takes us.”

Romero, meanwhile, felt he had done enough to win the fight, and questioned the Illinois athletic commission for intervening during his weight cut on Friday.

“It is my humble opinion, I no lose tonight,” said Romero. “Tonight, I think I take the belt, that’s my humble opinion.”

The Cuban added that he was keen for a trilogy fight with Whittaker.

“I don’t have a problem ten times a rematch with him; it’s my pleasure.”