Romero and Whittaker booked for interim UFC middleweight title

Finally, after much dilly-dallying, deliberation and mixed messages, we have a middleweight title fight.

Kind of.

In what is billed as an interim UFC middleweight title fight, Yoel Romero, the consensus number one contender, will fight Robert Whittaker, fresh from an impressive mauling of Ronald ‘Jacare’ Souza, on July 8 at UFC 213. There will be no Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, the actual UFC middleweight champion, at UFC 213. Nor will there be Georges St-Pierre, the former UFC welterweight champion Bisping was supposed to fight in defence of his belt at some point this year. Instead, we have Romero and Whittaker, two middleweights keen to fight, keener still to grab a title belt – of any description – and effectively strong-arm Bisping into defending the full title against them in the not too distant future.

Whittaker, of course, has already seen a date with Bisping fall by the wayside. They were supposed to fight back in November 2015, only for Bisping to pull out injured. Romero, meanwhile, has been goading and chasing Bisping ever since the Englishman shocked the MMA world with a first-round knockout of Luke Rockhold in June 2016.

Headlining the UFC 213 event in Las Vegas is the UFC women’s bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko.