Much of the discontent surrounding the proposed Michael Bisping-Georges St. Pierre UFC middleweight title fight came from the fact that the promotion's No. 1 middleweight contender, Yoel Romero, had both earned his spot and was a serious threat to Bisping's title reign. Now that the Ultimate Fighting Championship has pumped the breaks on Bisping-GSP and are angling for Bisping-Romero this summer, oddsmakers agree.
The initial odds for the yet-to-be-scheduled bout between Bisping and Romero have been released by multiple sportsbooks, pegging the Cuban challenger between a 3-to-1 and a 4-to-1 favorite. Bovada opened Romero at -300 to Bisping's +230, while Sportsbook tapped “The Soldier of God” at -360 to Bisping's +280.
Shortly after St. Pierre announced he had signed a new contract with the UFC in late February, the promotion revealed it was working towards Bisping-GSP for the 185-pound crown in what would have been St. Pierre's first bout since defeating Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November 2013. After St. Pierre insisted he would not fight until after October, UFC President Dana White said the promotion could've wait for “Rush” to be available and would go ahead with Bisping-Romero.
No date or venue has been announced for Bisping-Romero, though the UFC is still targeting UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas, Nevada or UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, California.
“The Count” opened as a +260 underdog to Luke Rockhold before UFC 199 last June, when the Brit shockingly knocked Rockhold out to take the UFC crown. For his title defense against MMA legend Dan Henderson four months later at UFC 204, Bisping opened at -230.
The 40-year-old Romero, a 2000 Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling, opened as a betting underdog in his previous four UFC fights. After being a slight underdog and nearly even money against Tim Kennedy prior to their September 2014 clash, the American Top Team fighter opened at +145, +130 and +235 against Lyoto Machida, “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza and Chris Weidman respectively.