This past weekend at Bellator 285 in Dublin, Yoel Romero (15-6) made his third appearance for the promotion. He was taking on Melvin Manhoef (32-16-1) who was fighting in his final mixed martial arts fight. Manhoef is 46 while Romero is 45.
While both men had their moments in the fight, the contest was all about Yoel Romero. In the third round, he was able to secure a takedown. In that round, Romero really went to work with his ground and pound.
Just a little more than three minutes into the round, Romero landed some vicious elbows that put Manhoef out cold. Third round Romero is alive and well and he secured his second straight third round finish inside the Bellator cage.
It’s a crazy stat, but the last six finishes for Yoel Romero dating back to his UFC days all came in the third round. Needless to say, opponents need to be very cautious in that round. While this fight took place at light heavyweight, Romero said after the fight that he plans to return to 185.
Will Bellator give him a title shot?
Yoel Romero has fought three times in Bellator and he’s 2-1. All three fights have taken place at light heavyweight. When Romero made the jump over to Bellator, it was thought that he would never return to middleweight.
For years, Romero struggled to get down to 185 pounds. He missed weight for his Luke Rockhold fight which was for the interim middleweight championship. Had Romero just made weight, he would be able to say that he tasted a piece of UFC gold.
Nevertheless, Romero missed weight and never got that distinction. To be completely honest, I’m shocked that Romero wants to go back to 185 at nearly 46. If he can make the weight, would Bellator give him a shot at the middleweight title?
Johnny Eblen dethroned the great Gegard Mousasi back in June. The fight was completely one-sided with Eblen dominating. Since the fight was so one-sided, I don’t think an immediate rematch is in the cards for Mousasi.
With that, the door is open for Romero. There are no sexy challenges for Eblen outside of a fight with Yoel Romero. Now, Romero and Eblen both fight out of ATT which could complicate things. There’s no word on if they would take issue with fighting each other.
If there’s no issue, I think there’s a real chance that Yoel Romero could be Eblen’s first challenger.