Eddie Wineland had a surprise for the oddsmakers.
A modest +131 underdog according to BetDSI.com, the former World Extreme Cagefighting champion took care of Frankie Saenz (-156) with third-round punches at UFC on Fox 20 “Holm vs. Shevchenko” on Saturday before an announced crowd of 10,287 at the United Center in Chicago. Wineland brought it to a close 1:54 into round three, as he recorded his first win in more than two years.
Saenz survived a first-round knockdown and gathered steam as the fight moved along, as he utilized thudding leg kicks and high-output punching. However, Wineland floored the onetime King of the Cage titleholder with a slick counter right cross early in the third round, followed up with punches and forced the standing stoppage.
Wineland was not the only fighter to beat the odds in the Windy City. Valentina Shevchenko (+156) sprang a mild upset on former Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight titlist Holly Holm (-185) in the main event. Shevchenko countered beautifully throughout, mixing in strategic takedowns and a heavy dose of inside leg kicks across a five-round unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 49-46 for Shevchenko, awarding the Kyrgyzstani muay Thai stylist four of the five rounds.
Meanwhile, Felice Herrig (+125) made a successful return from a lengthy layoff, as she submitted Kailin Curran (-145) with a first-round rear-naked choke in a featured clash at 115 pounds. Herrig set up the Hawaiian with crisp body kicks, bullied into top position after a takedown and got down to business on the canvas. She settled in side control before advancing to the back and sinking the choke 1:59 into round one.
Finally, Tata Fight Team prospect Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira did not take kindly to being listed as the underdog in his undercard battle with Dmitry Smoliakov. Oliveira (+108) submitted the Russian newcomer with a rear-naked choke 3:58 into the second round, the loss knocking Smoliakov (-130) from the ranks of the unbeaten.