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11th Jun 2018

Robert Whittaker shows off smashed thumb after edging decision over Yoel Romero

Good grief

Darragh Murphy

Robert Whittaker has compared the feeling of punching Yoel Romero to hitting steel and in case you think he’s exaggerating, just take a look at his thumb.

Whittaker was always going to leave the UFC 225 main event with his middleweight title as Romero became ineligible to win the belt after missing weight by .2lbs on Friday afternoon in Chicago.

But while his title wasn’t on the line, Whittaker fought like his life depended on it as he refused to wilt under a devastating onslaught from ‘The Soldier of God’ in the second half of the headline fight.

The Aussier 185lber proved that he’s got an iron chin but, unfortunately, his hands aren’t quite as durable and after the bout, he revealed that he’d injured his hand badly in the first round.

“Yoel must be bad luck because in the first round I busted my hand and I cannot feel it,” the 27-year-old said in his post-fight interview. “It was absolutely brutal.

“He hits like a truck. I know he looks weak but he packs some power, I’ll tell you that much.”

Whittaker’s camp released images of an X-ray of his right hand which confirmed that ‘The Reaper’ essentially snapped his thumb in half but continued fighting through the pain barrier.

Whittaker, who defeated Romero more comprehensively last July, has admitted that it was a different experience this time around as the Cuban wrestler ate clean shots like they were nothing.

“This time, he felt like steel,” Whittaker told The Daily Telegraph after being discharged from the Chicago Emergency Ward. “I was punching and kicking him but it wasn’t doing any damage.

“He was walking forward through everything. It was weird.

“My shots just weren’t stopping him. I’ve fought everyone in the middleweight division — including Romero previously — and I’ve never seen anything like that.”