Former middleweight champion Chris Weidman made his first Octagon appearance since losing the belt to Luke Rockhold last December on Saturday against fourth-ranked Yoel Romero at UFC 205 in his home state of New York. Romero ruined his homecoming by finishing the “All-American” in the third round.
Weidman struck first, landing a kick to the body to start the opening round. He pushed the pace and was taking the fight to the Cuban in the early going. He mixed up his strikes and worked in takedown attempts. Romero didn’t throw a strike until 90 seconds had elapsed. Weidman targeted the body with kicks and pawed with his jab. He secured two takedowns in the first round and was in control of the fight.
Between rounds, Romero splashed water on his legs and back that prolonged the start of the second frame. In the round, Weidman continued to keep a high pace and landed kicks to the body. Romero decided to take the fight to the ground and tripped Weidman to the canvas. Weidman quickly got back to his feet was was unable to shake Romero. Romero took Weidman down three times in the second frame and it was all even heading into the third.
Weidman, sticking to his game plan, landed a kick to the body to start the final round. As he dipped down for a takedown, Romero leaped into the air with a flying knee that landed. The former champion crumbled to the canvas and Romero finished with a two more shots before the referee stepped in to stop the fight just 24 seconds into the round.
“I’ve trained very hard. It doesn’t matter whatever has happened in my life; it doesn’t matter how many ditches I’ve had to go through in my life, I keep going forward. God has given me (a shot at) the belt,” Romero said following the win. “There’s an opportunity for the belt.”
Middleweight champion Michael Bisping was on location doing his broadcast duties for FOX and gave Romero a thumbs down and the middle finger on the big screen inside the arena.
“I love you Mike,” said Romero in response. “See you soon, boy.”