Yoel Romero’s return to the cage for the first time since March 2020 didn’t go so well, with his opponent Phil Davis taking a split decision win over “Soldier of God” with 30-27, 30-26, and 28-29 scores. Don’t pay too much mind to the dissenting 28-29 score, though — most watching had the fight 30-27 for Davis, who managed to avoid Romero’s rare, but dangerous, power punches and use his wrestling to control things in the third round.
It was another disappointing fizzle for Bellator, which was undoubtedly hoping Romero could bring some extra marquee name value to its Light Heavyweight division. But, the Romero we saw at Bellator 266 was a bit too similar to the Romero who stunk the joint up against Israel Adesanya, not the wild man who was the terror of UFC’s Middleweight division five years ago.
Still, Scott Coker is hoping Romero is just shaking off some ring rust.
“I think that Phil is an amazing fighter, as we all know, and he just delivered another solid performance,” Coker said during a Bellator 266 post-fight press event (via MMA Junkie). “He fought smart. Yoel is still dangerous. If he hits you, it’s over. I think Phil probably felt that power early on, so he tried to stick and move a little bit. He took him down a couple times. I loved the fight. I thought that it was a great fight.
“I’m telling you, Yoel will be back,” Coker continued. “This is, to me, his comeback fight. It’s been how long since he fought? We give him another fight, and he’ll be really, really ready for the next one.”
“Again, give this guy another camp and another big fight, I think he’s going to come in and start throwing bombs on people. He’s a dangerous individual. You guys saw it. One punch, and it’s going to be over. He’s that guy.”
It wouldn’t be a Yoel Romero fight without a bit of controversy. In this fight, that comes courtesy of Romero claiming he didn’t realize his main event fight was only three rounds long. UFC main event fights are five rounds, but Bellator keeps all non-champion fights to three rounds.
For now, anyway.
“I think maybe at some point we’ll see it,” Coker said when asked about belt-less, five-round main events. “I just know that once we make that decision, it’s not going to go back. I heard that was something that was in his mind, too. I can’t blame him. He’s been fighting five rounds a lot in his career. This was a three-round fight, and maybe next time he’ll be in a five-round fight.”
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