Romero Earns Title Shot vs. Bisping
On Saturday night, the stage was set for Chris Weidman to have his moment. The face of New York MMA, Weidman realized his dream by walking to a cage in the center of Madison Square Garden. With a victory he would earn another shot at being champion, and the crowd would surely shower him in cheers.
In the third round of his UFC 205 fight, Weidman found himself instead in the gruesome stuff of nightmares. Yoel Romero, showcasing his trademark explosiveness, caught Weidman with a knee as the New York native shot in for a takedown. The fight, which should have been stopped immediately, ended after Romero followed up with a few punches on the ground. While Weidman picked himself up off the now-bloodstained canvas, middleweight champion Michael Bisping looked down from the FOX Sports desk at his next challenger, "The Soldier of God".
Romero was not the crowd favorite, and he was surely not the UFC’s preferred choice to earn the next shot at the title. The Cuban wrestler has been one of the most controversial athletes in the sport, trouble arising in nearly all of his contests. (This fight was no different, as Romero’s corner resorted to their favorite tactic of dousing him in too much water so that there was a few extra seconds to rest in between rounds).
He certainly isn’t Bisping’s preferred challenger. Weidman, an American who has gone back and forth with Bisping and could provide an entertaining buildup with the big-mouthed Brit, was the one Bisping wanted. Not Romero, who won’t do much to sell the fight and who is more likely to land a devastating shot in the fight itself.
But Romero’s performance speaks for itself, and he remains undefeated in the UFC despite multiple bouts marred by controversy. After UFC 205, UFC President Dana White confirmed that Bisping vs. Romero was the fight to make.
"That’s the fight that makes sense," White said. "I mean, he [Romero] beat Chris Weidman tonight. I don’t know when, but yeah, that’s the fight."
Bisping, who last week said that he would not fight Romero even if he won, likely won’t have much of a say after Romero’s spectacular finish at UFC 205.