Bengaluru, March 14: Robert Whittaker is reportedly set to defend the UFC middleweight title against Yoel Romero in UFC 225 scheduled to take place at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on June 9.
The news was first reported by BJPenn.com and was later confirmed by MMA Fighting, while the UFC is expected to officially announce the title fight very soon. This will be the second time the pair will meet.
In July last year, Whittaker defeated Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 213 to win the interim middleweight title. But, Whittaker was crowned the official champion without having to unify the belts after Georges St-Pierre decided to vacate the 185-pound belt following his victory over then-champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217.
Earlier this year in February, Whittaker was scheduled to fight Luke Rockhold for the title but the Australian was forced to pull out due to illness. Then, Romero who stepped in to face Rockhold for the interim title missed weight prior to the fight and was thus ineligible to win the belt.
The Cuban fighter ended up winning the bout after a third round knock out of Rockhold and cemented his place as the No. 1 contender for the middleweight crown.
If the bout is officially confirmed, it is expected to serve as the UFC 225 main event. The card will also see Alistair Overeem meet Curtis Blaydes at heavyweight, while Joseph Benavidez will return to take on Sergio Pettis in a flyweight scrap.
There have also been hints of former WWE champion turned MMA fighter CM Punk, who hails from Chicago to compete on the card.
The 39-year-old, CM Punk aka Phil Brooks, swapped the wrestling ring for the octagon back in 2014 but was humiliated on his debut, losing via submission to Mickey Gall in just over two minutes in 2016.
The former WWE star took to social to hint of a potential bout in Chicago.
June nine, after I win and lock eyes with my beautiful wife, embrace my coaches and shout out my entire team https://t.co/TmzRWR2kbn— Coach (@CMPunk) March 12, 2018
This is how the UFC 225 card looks for now,
Women's Strawweight bout: Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza
Flyweight bout: Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
Heavyweight bout: Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes
Light Heavyweight bout: Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith