Frightening cost of Aussie star’s war
ROBERT Whittaker has posted photo evidence of the devastation inflicted on his body during his unforgettable masterpiece in courage at UFC 225.
The Aussie middleweight champion's refusal to buckle after eating thunderous hooks and elbows from rival Yoel Romero in their UFC 225 re-match is the talk of the UFC.
It has now been revealed exactly how incredible it is that Whittaker was still standing - and smiling - after he was awarded his first title defence victory via a split judges decision on Sunday (AEST) in Chicago.
The 27-year-old posted a photo to Instagram on Sunday night showing his bruised and swollen face.
His camp also revealed a post-fight X-ray off his right hand - showing a clearly broken thumb - which he carried for the final four rounds of the fight.
He said in his post-match interview that his hand was "busted" and wasn't able to feel anything below his elbow in his right arm.
"Yoel must be bad luck, mate because first round I busted my hand and I cannot feel it," the 27-year-old said.
"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."
One look at the significant strikes he landed and suffered during his five rounds with Romero reveal exactly how mind-blowiningly brutal it really was.
According to reports the UFC 225 main event shattered the middleweight record for the most significant strikes ever landed in a five-round middleweight fight in the UFC.
Whittaker landed 128 significant strikes during the fight - including several punches with his broken right hand in the final two rounds of the fight.
Romero also landed an incredible 111 significant strikes - including a series of scary punches that dropped Whittaker in the third round and again in the fifth round.
The two set a new middleweight record of 239 significant strikes landed.
It's little wonder he was looking less than flash on Monday morning (AEDT).
The pain would surely have been dulled somewhat by the $100,000 bonus he received for featuring in the fight of the night at UFC 225.
Whittaker received the full bonus because Romero was ineligible to receive bonuses after failing to make weight during the UFC 225 weigh-ins - he was also reportedly forced to offer Whittaker 30 per cent of his fight purse.
It meant Whittaker's title was not on the line, but Whittaker has officially been credited with his first title defence in the UFC record books.
UFC boss Dana White said he would see how long it took Whittaker to get healthy before any decision was made on the champion's next fight.
"I saw him back there and his hand was swollen up, it's huge his hand is definitely broken," White said.
There was mixed fortunes for the other two Australians on the undercard of Whittaker's clash against Romero.
Heavyweight Tai Tuivasa extended his MMA record to 10-0 and his UFC log to 3-0 with a unanimous points win over former world champion Andrei Arlovski, though he was taken beyond the first round for the first time.
UFC debutante Megan Anderson suffered a unanimous points loss in her featherweight fight against former bantamweight world champion Holly Holm.
Tuivasa certainly caused a stir with his antics in and out of the Octagon.
He walked out to Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' classic and was spotted drinking beer from a fan's shoe on his walk back to the locker rooms.
The Sydneysider earned three judges scores of 29-28 to improve his MMA record to 10-0 and his UFC log to 3-0.
But it was the moments just before and after the fight that showed Tuivasa was a different character.
While most fighters walk out to the octagon to fast, loud, aggressive music, Tuivasa chose Dion's global chart-topper from Titanic.
When it was suggested it wasn't a typical walk-out song, Tuivasa retorted: "I'm not your typical bloke."
After the fight, he introduced the sellout crowd of more than 18,000 at the United Center to the "shoey" custom.
He drew a mixed reaction of amusement, cheers and disgust as he borrowed a shoe and drank from it on his victory walk from the octagon.
"It's Australian, it's been around forever, we do it at home and I just do it to celebrate," he said.
Tuivasa had stitches inserted into his nose and said he would also look to fix shoulder and elbow issues before his next bout.
Importantly, Tuivasa impressed UFC boss White after shading the much more experienced Arlovski.
"Tai was great. It was a really tough fight against a crafty veteran who did not want to get beat tonight," White said.
"Those are the kind of guys you have to fight when you are a young up-and-coming guy like him, to get better and get that experience under your belt."
It was the first time Tuivasa had been taken beyond the first round.
"I think it's shut a few people up," Tuivasa said.
"Everyone thinks I can fight just one round but I can only get better after that, it's just a start for me."