Yoel Romero found the oddsmakers’ lack of faith disturbing.
Romero -- a +182 underdog, according to BetDSI.com (online betting) -- was one of five fighters to spring upsets at UFC 205, as he disposed of former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman with a third-round knee strike and follow-up punches on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. The blow opened a horrific gash on the side of Weidman’s head, resulting in the stoppage 24 seconds into Round 3.
Neither man established much of an offensive rhythm through two rounds. At the start of the third, Romero caught Weidman (-230) ducking in for a takedown, blasted him with the knee and mopped up what was left. The 2000 Olympic silver medalist has won eight fights in a row, finishing six of them, and will likely challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship sometime in the first quarter of 2017.
Weidman was not the only favorite to fall. Former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate wound up on the wrong side of a surprisingly lopsided unanimous decision against Raquel Pennington (+113). Tate (-133) was beaten in all phases by an opponent she once coached on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and announced her retirement in the aftermath. Pennington, 28, has rattled off four consecutive victories since her split decision loss to Holly Holm in February 2015.
Meanwhile, Jim Miller exploited an overweight and lethargic Thiago Alves (-160) to pocket a unanimous decision on the undercard. Miller (+135) was the superior fighter for the majority of the 15-minute affair, as he grinded on the Brazilian from top position and threatened with various chokes following repeated takedowns. Miller’s 17 victories inside the Octagon are good for sixth place on the UFC’s all-time list, trailing only Michael Bisping (20), Georges St. Pierre (19), Donald Cerrone (18), Demian Maia (18) and Matt Hughes (18).
Two other underdogs rose to the occasion, as Tim Boetsch (+120) stopped Rafael Natal (-140) with punches 3:22 into the first round of their preliminary middleweight battle and Liz Carmouche (+148) walked away with a split decision over Katlyn Chookagian (-173) in a three-round undercard tilt at 135 pounds.