The much-anticipated card was supposed to feature a rematch between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker for the middleweight belt. His run also featured six knockout victories and four bonuses, including the Performance of the Night following his third-round KO of former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman that paid out on plus-175 odds at UFC 205.
In the end, it was Whittaker he did enough to take the win via split decision, 47-48, 48-47 and 48-47.
The two met previously at UFC 213 last July. Whittaker won that meeting in a unanimous decision.
At his peak, Whittaker is a well-rounded fighter, combining high-volume striking - especially to opponents' heads - with a strong takedown defense. "It was absolutely brutal".
"We came here to fight for the title", Romero said after the ceremonial weigh-ins, where he received a chorus of boos from the local crowd "I came here for the title fight". Romero certainly wasn't done, landing a right hand that just missed the button and then coming up short on a takedown in the final seconds of the round.
Initially, Romero came in at 186 pounds.
Whittaker-Romero still should be a scintillating headliner. Romero knocked out Rockhold in the second round. I don't even know how that's [missing weight] a thing? I can tell you that much.
"It is my humble opinion I did not lose tonight", Romero said.
With UFC president Dana White taking a tough-love approach as of late, it could be to the back of the list for Romero no matter what.
The card, which is one of the most stacked the promotion has had in some time if all goes off according to plan (that is, everyone makes weight) takes place at United Center in Chicago.