Romero happy to make weight for Adesanya bout
Yoel Romero raised his right hand and slapped his chest repeatedly.
"How many years?!" Romero screamed. "How many years?!"
The UFC middleweight star made Friday morning weight at 185 pounds even for his UFC 248 title challenge against champion Israel Adesanya on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. Romero, who has had a history of weight-cutting troubles in MMA, hit the scale with a little less than 20 minutes to go in the two-hour weigh-in window, but he hit the mark.
Adesanya made weight at 184.5 pounds Friday morning to make the title fight official. He was the first athlete on the scale and joked that he thought Romero would weigh in at 186 pounds or 185.4 -- both numbers that would be overweight for a championship bout.
Romero did not make weight in his two previous UFC title opportunities. Not Friday, though. Leading into the bout, he denied having trouble with his weight cut, saying he has made weight dozens of times over the past two decades, going back to his Olympic wrestling days.
Adesanya (18-0) won the undisputed middleweight title by knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 last October. The Nigerian-born Kiwi has never lost in his MMA career and has won all seven of his UFC fights. Adesanya, 30, is a former kickboxing champion.
Romero (13-4) has lost two in a row, but he was slotted in for this fight because of an injury to top contender Paulo Costa. The Cuba native is still considered one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC despite his current skid -- and is getting the chance because Adesanya wanted the man perceived to be the toughest in the division. Romero, 42, won an Olympic wrestling silver medal in 2000.
The co-main event will pit UFC women's strawweight champion Zhang Weili against former champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Both made weight Friday morning at 115 pounds even.
Zhang (20-1), the UFC's first Chinese champion, is on a 20-fight winning streak, including her first four in the UFC. The 30-year-old striker knocked out Jessica Andrade to win the belt last August. Jedrzejczyk (16-3), a 32-year-old Poland native, was the division's most successful champion, with five title defenses from 2015 to 2017.
Emily Whitmire missed weight by 1.5 pounds Friday, coming in at 117.5 for a women's strawweight bout against Polyana Viana. According to Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett, doctors told Whitmire she could not continue to cut weight for a second attempt. The bout will go on as planned, with Whitmire forfeiting 20% of her purse.
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