Phil Davis made the right choice moving to Bellator years ago

Phil Davis, MMA, UFC

This past weekend at Bellator 266, Phil Davis (23-6, 1 NC) was tasked with welcoming Yoel Romero (13-6) back to light heavyweight and to Bellator. Davis was coming off of a loss in the opening round of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix against the champion Vadim Nemkov.

Davis had a great gameplan for Bellator 266. Romero is someone who likes to lull his opponents to sleep before exploding with something that catches them off guard. The problem for Romero is that Davis never quit moving.

He used great angles on the outside to work his jab and use his length. Then, in the second round, he started mixing in his wrestling which completely caught the former Olympic Silver Medalist off guard.

In the third round after realizing he could take Romero down, Davis went to the takedowns. Romero couldn’t get Davis off of him at Bellator 266 and as a result, Davis ended up walking away with a split decision victory.

That said, this fight was not a split decision. I think everyone in the world outside of the one judge who scored the fight for Romero knew that Davis one. Even Romero didn’t believe a scorecard went for him at Bellator 266.

Davis’ Bellator Career

Back in 2015, Davis became a free agent after having a good run in the UFC. Davis entered the UFC when he was just 4-0 and ended up going 9-3 during his 12 fights with the promotion.

Twice he got up to title eliminators, but both times he fell short of the mark. After losing a split decision to Ryan Bader, Davis tested out the market and made the surprising decision to sign with Bellator.

Upon signing with Bellator, Davis went a perfect 4-0 to start which included capturing the Bellator light heavyweight title. Now, he lost the title in his first title defense in another split decision to Ryan Bader.

However, Davis has now gone 10-3 with Bellator. After starting his career on the amateur circuit, Davis has gone a combined 19-6 on the biggest stage and he’s only lost to some of the best. His losses came against Ryan Bader (Twice), Vadim Nemkov (Twice), Rashad Evans, and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Quietly, he’s put together a sensational career, and I don’t think he’s done yet. If he can put together another win or two, he might be challenging for the Bellator light heavyweight title again sometime in 2021.

What’s next for Yoel Romero after his failed debut with Bellator?

This past Saturday, Yoel Romero (13-6) made his highly anticipated debut at Bellator 266. Standing across from him was the former light heavyweight champion, Phil Davis (23-6).

Romero is a guy that just seems to defy father time. At 44 years old, Romero still is in incredible physical condition and he’s one of the most dangerous fighters whether he’s fighting at 185 or 205.

At Bellator 266, he was fighting in the light heavyweight division. Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen an interesting strategy from Yoel Romero when he fights. He waits and often stands flat-footed throughout the opening parts of the fight.

Now, he does this in order to set up his attacks. Romero has always been a guy who can explode into attacks with incredible power. He attempted to do this a few times against Phil Davis at Bellator 266.

With Romero being a former Olympic Silver Medalist in wrestling, he was always allowed to explode with crazy attacks and he never worried about getting taken down. However, he was taken down on Saturday night.

In fact, Davis controlled him for the majority of the final round. Romero never really got any offense going at Bellator 266 and he lost a decision. One judge somehow gave Romero the fight, but it’s obvious that Romero lost this one.

What’s next after Bellator 266?

It was a frustrating debut to watch if you were a Yoel Romero fan. He just never really pulled the trigger in the way that he’s capable of pulling it which is what cost him the fight in my opinion.

Romero was confused after the fight because he thought the main event was five rounds. However, in Bellator unlike the UFC, non-title main events are only for three rounds. That said, I don’t see how Romero was winning that fight if it went another two rounds.

So, what does the promotion do with Romero now. Well, there are a couple of options. They can see if he’d be willing to go back to middleweight or they could wait until Rumble Johnson is ready to compete again.

Romero – Rumble is a fight that everyone wanted to see. They were originally paired up in the Bellator Grand Prix, however, Romero had an eye issue that kept him out. Rumble has had to pull out of the Grand Prix with an illness. 

All that being said, if Rumble can come back in early 2022, it should be against Yoel Romero.

Phil Davis shuts out Yoel Romero at Bellator 266

Phil Davis, MMA, UFC

In the main event of Bellator 266, we saw one of the more highly anticipated promotional debuts in some time. The Solider of God, Yoel Romero (13-5), was making his return and Bellator debut as he took on Phil Davis (22-6).

This is the first time Romero competed since March of last year when he lost a middleweight title fight to Israel Adesanya. This was also Romero’s first fight in the light heavyweight division in years.

After signing with Bellator, Romero was put in the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. However, Romero was pulled off the Grand Prix due to an eye issue. He’s now been cleared and he’s ready to take on the former Bellator light heavyweight champion.

Like Romero was supposed to be, Phil Davis was in the Grand Prix. Davis lost to the current champion Vadim Nemkov. That loss snapped a three fight win streak for Davis. Overall, Davis is now 9-3 since making the jump to Bellator.

Bellator 266 Recap

Round 1

The Bellator 266 main event started out with a touch of the gloves. Both men bouncing on the outside to start as they gauge the range. Davis pawing with a left hook but nothing on it early on.

Romero now standing flat footed just watching as Davis is trying to start the striking. Davis throws a right straight that falls a bit short. Nice 1-2 from Phil Davis. Romero throws a headkick that gets blocked by Davis.

A switch of stance from Romero and the crowd is becoming restless with the limited action. Davis is throwing combinations on the outside but nothing is really landing. Powerful low kick lands for Yoel Romero.

Romero explodes and just missed on some power shots and settles back in. Low kick from Romero and Davis works the jab. Another powerful low kick from Romero but Davis answers with his own.

Romero showing a lot of feints here as Davis is looking to striking. Another big power shot just misses for Romero but that power is keeping Davis tentative early. The round comes to a close and I honestly have to lean towards Davis on activity at Bellator 266.

Round 2

Entering the second round at Bellator 266 and the crowd is wanting more action out of these two. Romero takes the center to start the second round but it’s Davis who starts the striking with a couple of jabs.

Davis is looking much more active with his jab here in the second. 1-2 lands for Phil Davis and he’s looking to be very active here. Romero throws a power shot that misses. Davis comes in but gets out quickly after nearly getting clipped with a power shot from Romero.

Power shot lands for Romero and Davis is backing up. Phil shoots for a takedown but it’s easily stuffed by Romero and they’re back to striking. Davis seems comfortable again and starts working his jab.

Davis is pulling away from Romero in terms of the striking numbers. Romero seems to be trying to time a knockout shot, but there’s not a lot being thrown. Right hand over the top lands for Phil Davis.

Huge leg kick lands for Romero that almost took Davis off his feet. Massive 1-2 lands for Davis and Romero smiles. Davis turning up the pressure here. Davis shoots in for a takedown and gets it just before the round ends. 2-0 Phil Davis at Bellator 266.

Round 3

Entering the final round at Bellator 266 and Yoel Romero is going to need a finish here. Romero bouncing on his feet and immediately takes the center to start the final round. It seems like he knows he needs to finish the fight here.

Davis starts to work his jab here in the opening minute. Romero tries to throw some power shots, but Davis immediately takes him down. Romero gets to his feet briefly but Davis slams him right back to the ground.

A few elbows land for Davis. Romero uses the fence to get back up but again, Davis takes him right back down. Things are looking pretty bleak for Yoel Romero here in his Bellator debut.

Halfway through the final round and it’s all Phil Davis. Romero uses a quick explosion to get back up, but he can’t keep Davis off of him. Again, Davis takes him right back down.

Romero tries to get back up, but Davis is controlling him here. Davis is landing big knees to the body. Romero gets back to his feet, but he can’t separate from Davis. Davis holds a clinch against the fence as the fight comes to an end. Completely one-sided here at Bellator 266.

Phil Davis def. Yoel Romero by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-26)

Bellator 266 Preview: Yoel Romero – Phil Davis

Tomorrow night in the main event of Bellator 266, we will see one of the more highly anticipated promotional debuts in some time. The Solider of God, Yoel Romero (13-5), will be making his return and Bellator debut as he takes on Phil Davis (22-6).

This is the first time Romero will have competed since March of last year when he lost a middleweight title fight to Israel Adesanya. This will also be Romero’s first fight in the light heavyweight division in years.

Romero was set to fight Uriah Hall in the UFC late last year, however, he had to pull out of the fight. Just a couple of months later, Romero was shockingly released by the UFC and ended up signing with Bellator.

The promotion put him in their Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. However, Romero was pulled off the Grand Prix due to medical issues. He’s now been cleared and he’s ready to take on the former Bellator light heavyweight champion.

Like Romero was supposed to be, Phil Davis was in the Grand Prix. Davis lost to the current champion Vadim Nemkov. That loss snapped a three fight win streak for Davis. Overall, Davis is now 9-3 since making the jump to Bellator.

Bellator 266 Prediction

For years, we saw Yoel Romero struggle to make the middleweight limit in the UFC. It’ll be interesting to see how he looks now that he’s not having to cut the extra 20 pounds for his Bellator debut.

Romero is just a question mark because in spots, he looks like one of the greatest fighters you’ve ever seen. However, in other spots, he confuses you with his lack of aggressiveness.

Phil Davis has an incredibly well-rounded game, but he might be without his biggest weapon in this fight. Davis is known for his wrestling, but he might have struggles against the former Olympic Silver Medalist Romero.

I actually think a lot of the Bellator 266 main event is going to take place on the feet. With that, I’m expecting Romero to get the nod. I don’t think we will see a finish tomorrow, but I believe Romero will land bigger shots that’ll ultimately sway the judges.

Prediction: Yoel Romero by Unanimous Decision