It might not be the precise Bellator MMA debut that followers and promotional brass had hoped for Yoel Romero on Saturday, however the 44-year-old “Soldier of God” continues to be anticipated to have his palms full towards former mild heavyweight champion Phil Davis.
Romero (13-5) was compelled to withdraw from his initially scheduled bout towards Anthony “Rumble” Johnson in Might, in a Mild Heavyweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal battle, after being poked within the eye throughout sparring. As a substitute, the previous Olympic silver medalist from Cuba will headline Bellator 266 in San Jose towards an arguably harder opponent within the well-rounded Davis (22-6, 1 NC).
“[Romero] and I are each superb at getting a learn on the tempo and the footwork and one other guys’ angles,” Davis stated throughout Thursday’s media availability. “I feel there’s going to be a feeling-out course of the place we’re each making an attempt to see the place the opposite particular person is spatially and see what sort of angles and feints and fakes had been utilizing. After that I feel it is 4th of July. Fireworks!”
It is onerous to disregard what number of questions Romero enters with that transcend age and his current damage. He has been idle for 18 months courting again to his UFC middleweight title loss to Israel Adesanya in March 2020 and he will likely be shifting again as much as 205 kilos for the primary time since 2011. Romero additionally enters having misplaced 4 of his final 5 fights albeit by shut selections towards the middleweight elite.
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“I really feel good as a result of I did not must drop weight. I simply saved my very own weight,” Romero stated. “I simply switched divisions and saved my very own weight. And I’ve all the time skilled with heavyweights and light-weight heavyweights inside my coaching camp. I am fully tailored to the heavier weights.”
The 36-year-old Davis, whose lone defeats since leaving UFC for Bellator in 2015 have come through razor-thin resolution to present Bellator champions Vadim Nemkov (twice) and Ryan Bader, will enter the battle with benefits of 4 inches in top and 6 inches in attain.
But regardless of the distinction in measurement, Davis would not consider it’ll play an element contemplating what number of rangy fighters Romero has confronted in UFC to excessive ranges of success. Davis additionally consider the lengthy layoff Romero has undergone will show to be a optimistic for him contemplating it gave his physique time to adapt to the brand new weight class.
The one factor sure Davis might say concerning how the 2 fighters’ kinds will play towards each other is that he would not know for certain.
“You’ll have to watch on Saturday,” Davis stated. “Will he be rusty as a result of he has been off for some time? I do not know. Will he be slower as a result of he has placed on weight? I do not know. Will I be sooner? I prefer to suppose so. I positively suppose I’ll have a pace benefit however you all the time need to give a man like that some X-factor.
“Not solely do I push tougher in coaching as a result of I do know I’ve a man who’s going to take me to the subsequent stage however he is a prime man on the earth and also you need to give him that credit score by making ready for that.”
There’s some enjoyable to be discovered on the undercard on Saturday evening as nicely. Neiman Gracie appears to be like to shake off a troublesome loss to Jason Jackson in his final outing when he takes on Mark Lemminger in a welterweight bout. Alejandra Lara appears to be like to do the identical after dropping a choice to Kana Watanabe when she takes on Deanna Bennett at ladies’s flyweight. Plus, Georgi Karakhanyan steps up on brief discover to face off with Saul Rogers in an intriguing bout at light-weight.
Beneath is the entire battle card in addition to a prediction for the principle occasion.
Struggle card, odds
Odds through Caesars Sportsbook
- Phil Davis -130 vs. Yoel Romero +110, mild heavyweights
- Neiman Gracie -280 vs. Mark Lemminger +230, welterweights
- Alejandra Lara -190 vs. Deanna Bennett +160, ladies’s flyweights
- Saul Rogers -125 vs. Georgi Karakhanyan +105, featherweights
- Christian Edwards -900 vs. Ben Parrish +600, mild heavyweights
Bellator 266 viewing data
Date: Sept. 18 | Begin time: 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. prelims)
Location: SAP Heart — San Jose, California
TV Channel: Showtime | Stream: Showtime App
The truth that Romero is a menace to finish the battle at any level with all 4 of his limbs ought to see Davis on excessive alert all through. It might additionally lead him to a low output that may see the bout devolve right into a three-round level battle and technical battle that may favor the longer Davis and steal from the leisure worth.
The onus will finally be on Romero to complete the battle and discover a strategy to persistently get inside on Davis with out gassing himself out within the course of. It is a onerous proposition in concept contemplating Romero is extra of a counter striker and Davis, who has by no means been stopped in 29 professional fights, has seen 15 of his final 17 fights lengthen to no less than the ultimate spherical together with 12 which have gone the complete distance.
The truth that each have such embellished wrestling backgrounds probably implies that the battle is contested solely on the toes. So the query will develop into whether or not Romero may be busy sufficient to have a shot at successful a choice ought to he show unable to get the end.
Though each fighters have dropped shut selections in massive fights of late because of being not energetic sufficient to win over the judges, the entire related nonetheless favor Davis to get the win.
Davis will definitely must navigate some tough waters early given Romero’s explosive unpredictability and the truth that the battle is three rounds versus 5 probably performs a giant function within the betting odds being so shut as Romero has to fret much less about pacing himself. But each destructive situations doubtlessly going through Romero — the probability that he throws too short while being overly affected person as a counter striker or the prospect that he tires out going for the end — nonetheless result in a Davis win.
For all of the romanticized hope that Romero can lure Davis into the type of thrilling brawl he had with Paulo Costa simply two years in the past at UFC 241, Davis merely will not be a keen dance associate. Nor ought to he.
Decide: Davis through unanimous resolution
https://www.cbssports.com/mma/information/bellator-266-predictions-yoel-romero-vs-phil-davis-fight-card-start-time-odds-live-stream/ | Bellator 266 predictions — Yoel Romero vs. Phil Davis: Struggle card, begin time, odds, dwell stream