But the bout no longer is a title fight after Romero failed to make weight for the second straight time in a title fight.
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The UFC did not announce whether the fight would continue, but the two fighters were introduced and faced off at the ceremonial weigh-ins later on Friday. He will maintain the belt, win or lose.
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The 33-year-old went on to win two National Basketball Association titles with the Heat before entering free agency again in 2014. Sources told ESPN that the injury was the result of James' punching a whiteboard in the locker room after that game.
The 27-year-old's lengthy 11-month absence from the octagon resulted from a knee injury that sidelined him for the second half of 2017, and a subsequent staph infection that proved serious enough to force him to withdraw from a scheduled title clash with former champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.
Whittaker said: "I have a great team and a great staff". Soldier of God ultimately won that bout via third-round knockout.
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"Yoel Romero's a hard dude on the best of nights", he said. Or really punish him for missing weight by pushing him down the line of contenders.
"The main event is on".
At the time of writing, the terms of the contest are not clear but UFC President Dana White confirmed that the fight will take place while it remains to be seen whether a title will be on the line, whether it will be the main event or how many rounds it will be. "Why would I? I might as well fight someone heavier than me".
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But he said he's going without her because she had a four-hour operation and doctors told her not to fly for a month. Trump's Communications Director, Stephanie Grisham, said the procedure was a success and without complication.
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