Another weekend of combat sports action has come and gone as the UFC 248 pay-per-view (PPV) championship doubleheader blew the roof off T-Mobile Arena last Sat. night (March 7, 2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who had her face beaten to a pulp by current women’s strawweight champion, Weili Zhang, in an epic championship bout (see it again here). And Drakkar Klose, who was knocked out by Beneil Dariush in their lightweight tilt (highlights).
But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?
Coming into his middleweight title fight against division champion, Israel Adesanya, Romero had to deal with some outside chatter from critics who insisted the Cuban — coming off losses to Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker — was undeserving of a crack at the 185-pound crown.
But since UFC was in a bind, thanks to a biceps injury to “The Eraser,” they hit up “Soldier of God,” who unabashedly stepped up to the plate. Like any fighter would in his position, Romero took advantage of the championship opportunity.
Unfortunately, once fight night rolled around, Romero didn’t do much to silence his critics, failing to pop off any of the explosive and violent offense we’ve grown accustomed to. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by Romero’s past performances. Then again, he was also facing an unbeaten striker who has taken the mixed marital arts (MMA) world by storm. But I think it’s safe to say no one expected “a fight that sucked” after Romero promised a knockout.
”This was a terrible fight. I’m shocked that Romero knew this was his last opportunity at a world championship,” UFC President Dana White said. “I thought he was going to come out like a bat out of hell, put tons of pressure on him, shoot takedowns, try to knock him out. He did literally none of that.”
With three straight losses, it’s hard to believe Romero, 42, will ever get to the big dance again, especially if he’s on Dana’s bad side.
To be fair, “Soldier of God” is still one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, despite his puzzling gameplan, and I highly doubt people are going to start lining up to fight him based on what they saw at UFC 248.
As for where Romero goes from here, we know it won’t be up to light heavyweight. There are still plenty of fights for him at 185 pounds that will intrigue fans and I don’t expect a repeat performance like this one we saw last weekend in “Sin City.”
Personally, I’d like to see him fight fellow contender Kelvin Gastelum. The former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) champion has also fallen on tough times, losing to Adesanya and Darren Till in back-to-back fights. Ranked No. 7, Gastelum’s dance card is currently empty, and a fight against Romero would definitely be a crowd-pleaser. It also allows the winner to break his funk, while sending the loser deeper down a middleweight hole.
Unless, of course, you have a better idea?