Bellator announces that Yoel Romero – Anthony Johnson is off

The one matchup that fans were the most excited about when it comes to the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix was Yoel Romero (13-5) – Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6). The two were supposed to fight next weekend at Bellator 258.

Rumble and Romero were both released from their UFC contracts last year. Almost immediately, Bellator snatched both men up and put them in the upcoming Grand Prix. The two knockout artists seemed like they were going to deliver the goods for the promotion.

However, late last night, we learned that the fight was off. Bellator announced that Yoel Romero was not cleared and the fight next weekend with Rumble is off. You can read the full statement below.

“Yoel Romero did not clear pre-fight medical testing and as a result, his Bellator MMA debut against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson has been postponed. Bellator will confirm a tournament alternate to face “Rumble” Johnson in the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix as soon as possible.”

Bellator statement on Yoel Romero

What’s next for Bellator 258

This is a major hit to next weekend’s Bellator card. Yes, there are still some great fights including Juan Archuleta – Sergio Pettis, but the world was waiting for the battle between Rumble and Romero.

At this time, there is no word as to why or what made Romero fail his pre-fight medicals. Hopefully it’s not something that will keep him from competing moving forward. While Romero is 43 years old, he still seems to have plenty left in the tank.

I’m very curious to see who the promotion can find to take on Rumble next weekend. Rumble appears to be in phenomenal shape and he looks like he’s ready to make a statement at Bellator 258.

If Rumble wins next weekend, he will move on to take on Vadim Nemkov for the title in the semi-finals. However, before we can think about Rumble fighting for the Bellator title, we will have to figure out who he’s fighting first. This will be a story to follow over the coming days.

Bellator announces move to Showtime and Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

Bellator MMA has been relatively quiet since the calendar moved over to 2021. However, they’ve been making big moves behind the scenes that would further the promotion’s vision in 2021.

Today, Bellator announced that they have agreed to a deal with Showtime and Showtime will now become the exclusive home for their events. Just last year, Bellator announced they had a deal with CBS Sports Network, but the Viacom promotion is shifting gears.

Showtime decided to get involved and both sides agreed that it would be best to move the promotion to Showtime. Bellator will also be moving their events back to Friday nights after a brief stint on Thursdays.

In addition to announcing the new deal with Showtime, Scott Coker announced some exciting news in terms of the light heavyweight division. By far, the light heavyweight division is the best that Bellator has to offer.

They made some huge signings in the last year and they are ready to capitalize. Coker announced today that Bellator would be starting a Light Heavyweight Grand Prix that will start on April 9th.

Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix

The Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix will kick off on April 9th. In the first quarter final matchup, Corey Anderson (14-5) will be taking on Bellator newcomer, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (18-5-1).

Also on April 9th in the main event of the evening, Ryan Bader (27-6) will be taking on Lyoto Machida (26-10). Bader is the Bellator heavyweight champion and just lost his light heavyweight title last year to Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Of course, the matchup everyone wanted to see takes place on April 16th. Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) will battle it out. However, despite the hype behind this matchup, it will not serve as the main event on April 16th.

Instead, that honor will belong to the Bellator Light Heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov. Nemkov will be competing in the tournament and defending his title against Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). An absolutely stacked field and fight fans should be very excited about this Grand Prix.

Corey Anderson says Bellator is better than the UFC at light heavyweight

Corey Anderson

2020 turned out to be an eventful year for Bellator‘s Corey Anderson (14-5). When the year started, Anderson was one of the top contenders in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. He appeared to be one win away from a title shot.

However, Jan Blachowicz (27-8) starched Anderson in February to claim that top contender status. After Anderson was knocked out, he had a series of health concerns that kept him from competing. These health scares also had him reevaluate his career.

Anderson decided to go to the UFC and ask for more money. When the promotion wasn’t willing to, he asked for a release to be able to look around in the market. The UFC released Anderson and Bellator signed him almost immediately.

It turned out to be the first of several moves like this for Bellator. After signing Anderson, Bellator would go on to sign Yoel Romero (13-5) and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6) after they were released from the UFC.

Those top three contenders join the likes of Vadim Nemkov (12-2), Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC), and Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC). It’s safe to say that Bellator’s light heavyweight division has never been better.

In fact, it’s so good that Anderson believes it’s the best on the planet. Anderson told MMA Fighting, “I just feel right now Bellator has the upper hand. Jones has left. They’ve got these hype trains. These young guys UFC has coming in they’re trying to hype up but I feel like their legitimacy aren’t like the vets that were there that are in Bellator now.”

Bellator or the UFC?

If we are going to go on pure name recognition, it’s hard to argue Corey Anderson’s point. Bellator has some serious name power in their light heavyweight division. However, it is the best in the sport?

In all honesty, if you’re looking at the totality of their top five, it might be. The UFC’s top contender is Glover Teixeira (32-7) who was knocked out in 14 seconds by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

Then again, there’s also Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) in the UFC’s top five. Prochazka stopped Bellator’s champion, Vadim Nemkov, when the two of them faced off a few years ago.

Another interesting wrinkle to throw into things is the light heavyweight debut of Israel Adesanya (20-0). Stylebender is fighting Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title in March.

Anderson definitely has an argument that Bellator is just as good if not better at 205 than the UFC. However, I believe the best light heavyweight in the world right now is Jan Blachowicz with Jon Jones moving up.

Overall, the UFC has a deeper division due to the amount of fighters on the roster and they have younger contenders. While Bellator is right there, I would still give the advantage to the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, the UFC.

Fights Bellator needs to make in 2021

2021 is officially here and it’s expected to be a big year for Bellator MMA. Despite having a lengthy shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the promotion had some really high points in 2020.

Not only did Bellator put on some tremendous fights, but they made some big signings. With a string of signings in the second half of the year, Bellator has a light heavyweight division that can compete with anyone’s.

We just entered 2021, but it’s looking good for Bellator. They have a lot of talent on the roster and they can be taken more seriously now. Gone are the days where Bellator cards are being headlined by the likes of Kimbo Slice and Dada 5000.

In 2021, there are a couple of fights that stick out as “Must-Makes” for Bellator. One of those fights comes from their most stacked division and the other comes from the division that holds the greatest fighter in the promotions history.

Bellator matchups that need to happen in 2021

Yoel Romero – Anthony “Rumble” Johnson

The first matchup that Bellator needs to make is Yoel Romero (13-5) against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6). Both of these men were signed by Bellator in the last couple of months of 2020.

The two former UFC title challengers are two of the more terrifying fighters in the sport. Romero just fought for the UFC middleweight title back in February of 2020 before being released at the end of the year.

Rumble has been out since 2017, however, outside of Daniel Cormier, nobody has been able to stop him since 2012. Both of these men are terrifying and extremely talented. Neither are likely to get a Bellator title shot right away considering the title picture.

With that in mind, Bellator needs to book the two men against each other. A matchup between Rumble and Romero is bigger than the light heavyweight title. It’s a massive fight that would draw in a ton of fans. I fully expect Bellator to book this fight early in 2021.

Patricio Pitbull – AJ McKee

This potential Bellator matchup is one that will likely be booked by default. The potential featherweight matchup between Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4) and AJ McKee (17-0) is one that Bellator absolutely needs in 2021.

Both men are currently in the featherweight Grand Prix. McKee has already punched his ticket to the finals while Pitbull still has to defeat Emmanuel Sanchez. Pitbull has already defeated Sanchez once before.

You can imagine that the promotion is praying that Pitbull makes it through that fight victorious. No disrespect to Sanchez, but the fight that everyone wants to see is Pitbull against AJ McKee.

McKee has fought all 17 of his pro fights with Bellator. He looks like he can become the homegrown superstar that Bellator needs. He definitely has mainstream appeal and he’s only 25 years old.

Pitbull is arguably the greatest fighter Bellator has ever had. He continues to get better and better and he’s currently a two-division world champion. The fight between these two could be massive.

The best thing for Bellator in 2021 is for McKee to get his shot against Pitbull and win. AJ McKee has what it takes to become a superstar in MMA. If he can come in and win the title from someone like Pitbull in 2021, look out.

Bold 2021 predictions for Bellator MMA

Patricio Pitbull Freire

2021 is already promising to be a massive year for Bellator MMA. The promotion made some major progress in 2020 despite having to shut down for a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bellator put on some tremendous fights in 2020. However, it was their string of signings in the second half of the year that had the MMA world buzzing. Bellator really stacked their light heavyweight division.

Bellator added Yoel Romero (13-5), Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6), and Corey Anderson (14-5) to their light heavyweight division. All of the former top UFC contenders parted ways with the UFC this year.

As soon as they hit the open market, Bellator scooped them up. In doing so, the promotion has put together a light heavyweight division that is certainly capable of competing with the UFC’s light heavyweight division.

There are so many things to watch for with Bellator in 2021. I wanted to do some bold predictions for the promotion for what will happen in 2021. If these predictions come true, there are going to be some shocked MMA fans.

2021 Bellator Bold Predictions

Patricio Pitbull leaves 2021 without a title

For my first bold prediction I’m looking at Bellator’s two-division champion, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (31-4). Pitbull is widely considered to be the best fighter that Bellator has on the roster. He’s arguably the best fighter in the promotion’s history.

He currently is the Bellator lightweight and featherweight champion. However, there has been whispers of him vacating the lightweight championship. Pitbull became the lightweight champion when he defeated Michael Chandler (21-5) in 2019.

However, Pitbull is small for the weight class. He mainly moved up to lightweight to challenge Chandler to avenge his brother’s (Patricky Pitbull) knockout loss to Chandler. He has yet to defend the lightweight championship.

I’m going to say that Patricio Pitbull vacates the Bellator lightweight championship to focus on featherweight. However, I think that this is going to be the year that Pitbull is dethroned at featherweight.

The most exciting prospect in Bellator is AJ McKee (17-0). The Mercenary has fought all seventeen of his professional fights under the Bellator banner. They’ve brought him along the right way and he’s on the verge of superstardom.

McKee has already earned a spot in the finals of Bellator’s featherweight Grand Prix. The other spot will go to the winner of the fight between Patricio Pitbull and Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4).

I believe that Pitbull is going to defeat Sanchez when they fight setting up a fight between him and McKee. I’m going to say that McKee not only wins the Bellator featherweight title, but finishes Patricio Pitbull. With that, cementing himself as the superstar that Bellator needs.

Vadim Nemkov remains the light heavyweight champion

As mentioned above, the Bellator light heavyweight division is completely stacked at the moment. All of those signings are incredibly exciting and I didn’t even mention the promotion’s light heavyweight champion, Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

Nemkov knocked out Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) to capture the Bellator light heavyweight championship back in August. Nobody has been able to stop Nemkov since he made his debut with the promotion in 2017.

With the additions made to the light heavyweight division, many are saying Nemkov will not leave 2021 as the champion. However, my bold prediction is that the belt stays with the Russian as we enter 2022.

As things currently stand, there are three front runners to face Nemkov whenever he defends his title. Those contenders being Corey Anderson, Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC), and a rematch with Bader.

Something tells me that Nemkov is just going to fight twice in 2021 with both of his fights coming from that group of three. Nemkov has already defeated Davis and Bader on his way to the title.

Corey Anderson is definitely a tough challenge, however, I think Nemkov can beat him. While everyone will want to see Anthony Johnson or Yoel Romero challenge for the Bellator title next year, I’m not convinced it happens.

Something tells me that Nemkov is going to have a rematch with Ryan Bader next. Scott Coker said that they are looking into this. I believe that Nemkov will beat Bader again to retain the Bellator title.

Perhaps on the same card, I believe we will see a matchup between Davis and Anderson as a title eliminator. I also see Nemkov defeating the winner of that fight. So my prediction is when all is said and done, Vadim Nemkov is still the light heavyweight champion after 2021.

State of the Bellator light heavyweight division entering 2021

Bellator MMA had a very big year in 2020. Despite having to shutdown for a few months due to the pandemic, they accomplished some great things. From the first major MMA event in France to transitioning to CBS Sports Network. 

It’s been a very good year for Bellator. However, despite those accomplishments, it’s the additions that Bellator has made in 2020 that really stand out to me. Specifically the additions to the light heavyweight division.

The UFC parted ways with three top level fighters in 2020. Those fighters being Corey Anderson (14-5), Yoel Romero (13-5), and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (22-6). Bellator pounced on those three immediately and scooped them up.

Anderson asked for his release earlier this year after he felt he wasn’t getting paid enough. Once released, Bellator signed him to a deal where he was making more. Yoel Romero was recently cut from the UFC. However, he fought for the middleweight title in his last fight.

Once on the market, Bellator signed him for the light heavyweight division. Rumble Johnson’s UFC return was much anticipated, but the two sides decided it would be best to part ways. Once on the market, Bellator signed Rumble as well.

Bellator’s Light Heavyweight Division in 2021

When the year started, Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) held both the Bellator light heavyweight and heavyweight titles. However, he hadn’t defended his light heavyweight title since 2017. That changed at Bellator 244 when he fought Vadim Nemkov (12-2).

While there was a lot of hype surrounding Nemkov, many believed it would be another win for Bader. However, Nemkov proved the doubters wrong by stopping Bader in the second round. Nemkov is now the light heavyweight king and he’s 5-0 in Bellator.

The next title defense isn’t clear for Nemkov. There’s talk of a potential rematch with Bader, but there is also talk of him facing either Phil Davis (22-5, 1 NC) or Corey Anderson. Davis is riding a three-fight winning streak and just defeated Lyoto Machida (26-10) in September.

Anderson made his Bellator debut in November when he smashed Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 251. In my opinion, Bader should fight at heavyweight next and let Nemkov take on either Anderson or Davis.

The fight everyone wants to see is the potential matchup between Romero and Rumble. In all honesty, it’s bigger than the champion Nemkov facing off against any of those top contenders I mentioned.

Rumble – Romero is one of the biggest matchups Bellator could make in 2021. There have been whispers of a potential Grand Prix, but nothing is official. What we do know is that the light heavyweight division is stacked. Nemkov is going to have his hands full this upcoming year.

Bellator’s Yoel Romero says there’s a 90% chance he fights Rumble Johnson in debut

Bellator has been making some waves with their recent signings in the light heavyweight division. Earlier this year, the promotion signed top UFC light heavyweight Corey Anderson to bolster their light heavyweight division.

Anderson was ranked fourth in the UFC prior to the Bellator signing. Then, out of no where, Bellator signed Anthony “Rumble” Johnson after he mutually parted ways with the UFC. This week, the promotion made another huge signing.

The UFC is cutting down their roster by the end of the year. One of the fighters who was let go is Yoel Romero. Romero’s release came as a surprise considering he just fought for the title back in February in his last fight.

However, the UFC decided it was time to move on from Romero. After initially not seeming interested, Bellator pounced on the opportunity to sign Yoel Romero. They finalized the deal this week and he will be fighting in the light heavyweight division.

Romero appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show to talk about his move to Bellator. He talked about his first fight saying, “There’s a huge possibility, 90% chance that (Anthony “Rumble” Johnson) will be the first one.”

Bellator’s huge light heavyweight matchup

This is the biggest matchup Bellator can make with their new signings. Romero and Rumble are two of the most feared fighters in the world. Both are freaks of nature with incredible power in their hands.

Romero won a silver medal in the Olympics for wrestling, however, it’s his power and athleticism that has made him a star. Rumble Johnson is known for separating people from their senses. Just ask Glover Teixeira who didn’t last 14 seconds with Rumble.

Bellator has some serious momentum in their light heavyweight division at the moment. While their last three signings were all fighters who were released by the UFC, they are massive additions to their roster.

I’m not saying it is, but you can definitely make the argument that Bellator‘s light heavyweight division could compete with the UFC’s. It’s been a long time since anyone said they could compete with the UFC in any division.

BREAKING: Yoel Romero is heading to Bellator

Bellator MMA has made another big signing. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has reported that the promotion has agreed to a multi-fight deal with The Soldier of God, Yoel Romero (13-5). Romero will be competing at light heavyweight.

This news came out of no where this morning. A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that the UFC had cut Romero. Romero still had a few fights left on his deal and his last fight had been for the middleweight title.

However, the UFC is going to be making some serious roster cuts between now and the end of the year. After he was released, Bellator came out and said that they were not interested in bringing in Yoel Romero. 

I believed that this was a big mistake because Romero is still one of the best fighters in the world. However, it appears that the promotion had a change of heart over the last week.

After initially saying that they wouldn’t be interested, Bellator changed their tune late last week. They began negotiating with Romero and they came to a deal. The Soldier of God is officially heading for Bellator’s light heavyweight division.

Romero in Bellator

Yoel Romero is the third addition to Bellator’s light heavyweight division in 2020 of fighters who were under contract with the UFC. Corey Anderson parted ways with the UFC despite having fights left on his deal to sign with Bellator.

Last week, Anthony Johnson parted ways with the UFC with fights left on his deal and signed with Bellator. Now, Romero is doing the same thing. While the UFC was comfortable letting these guys go, they’ve bulstered the light heavyweight division of the competition.

I’m extremely interested in seeing Romero compete at light heavyweight. For years, Romero has struggled to get down to 185 pounds. I’ve always been curious to see how he would do when he didn’t have to cut weight.

We are going to get to see that in Bellator. It’s a big move for the promotion and the right move. I’m glad they decided to reevaluate the situation and go after Romero after initially saying they would not.

Is Bellator making a mistake passing on Yoel Romero?

Just a couple of days ago, we found out Yoel Romero was released by the UFC. Immediately afterwards, fans were wondering if Bellator would be the place that Romero would call home after his shocking release.

The news really came out of no where. Yoel Romero last fought in February for the UFC middleweight title. Romero was ranked fifth in the promotion’s rankings and he was scheduled to fight in August before he had to pull out.

The UFC is making financial cuts and Romero was an asset they could live without. Bellator is arguably the second biggest MMA promotion in the world. Romero is still a top guy so it would make logical sense for Romero to end up with a promotion like Bellator.

However, today we learned some interesting news. Sources told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that Bellator was not interested in signing the former four-time UFC middleweight title challenger. Bellator seems comfortable not going after Romero.

This made me scratch my head a little bit. I understand that Bellator doesn’t want to be considered as the place for UFC rejects, but Yoel Romero is still one of the best fighters in the world. He would have been a great fit with Bellator.

Bellator’s mistake?

Let me preface this section by saying that of course things could change. Maybe Bellator has a change of heart and they decide to go after The Soldier of God. However, let’s say for the sake of argument that they hold firm and pass.

Is it a mistake for Bellator to pass on Yoel Romero. Yes, it’s a massive mistake for them to pass on Romero. They are thinking of this all wrong. I hate to break it to Scott Coker, but Bellator will never be the UFC. They just won’t ever reach that level.

That being said, Bellator is now becoming a promotion that will shun fighters if they are cut from the UFC. The reason is because they don’t want to risk a guy like Romero coming in and winning the middleweight championship after failing to win in the UFC.

They could then see the MMA world going, “You see, Bellator’s best are just the UFC’s rejects.” However, Yoel Romero shouldn’t be considered anyone’s reject. Yes, he was released by the UFC, but he’s still one of the very best in the world.

If Bellator were to sign Romero, they could build a huge event around Romero fighting Gegard Mousasi for the middleweight title. I think by passing on Romero they are focusing too much on their reputation and not enough on fight making. A mistake in my opinion.

Could Tyron Woodley be on the UFC chopping block?

UFC, Tyrone Woodley

This past weekend UFC fans were shocked to see the news that Yoel Romero had been cut by the promotion. One of the best middleweights in the world who’s last appearance inside the octagon was for the UFC middleweight title.

Romero was the fifth ranked middleweight in the UFC. Dana White was asked about the decision to release Romero after UFC Vegas 16. White made the announcement that the promotion was going to be going through some serious cuts.

White said that the UFC would be releasing up to 60 fighters between now and the end of the year. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that the number could be as high as 80 fighters getting released by the promotion.

White also said that Romero wouldn’t be the last big name to go. There would be some other recognizable names that the promotion would move on from. That got me thinking about potential UFC cut candidates.

I started looking up and down the rankings for all of the divisions. There was one name that immediately jumped out at me as a potential option to be cut. That would be the former UFC welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley (19-6-1).

Could the UFC cut the former champ?

I honestly never thought I would be writing about the possibility of Tyron Woodley getting cut, but here we are. I should preface this by saying that I have no insider knowledge on this and this is purely speculation at this point.

So, why do I think the former UFC champion could be on the chopping block? Well, for starters, Woodley makes a lot of money when he fights. It’s clear that the UFC is going to be trimming the fat which means high earning fighters who are not apart of the future.

Being a former 5x champion, Woodley earns a lot when he steps into the cage. Woodley’s resume earned him the money that he receives. However, his last three performances have been horrendous.

Against Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns, and Kamaru Usman, Woodley hasn’t even won a round. He’s been completely dominated in all three of his last UFC fights. He’s looked like a shell of his former self inside the octagon.

Woodley has other avenues for making money outside the UFC and it’s been questioned on if he’s truly focused on fighting. Another thing about Woodley is the fact that he’s turning 39 in April.

White even made comments suggesting he think about hanging it up after the Covington fight. All of this and it’s not like Woodley and the UFC have had a great working relationship. Dana White has had negative comments multiple times regarding Woodley.

Mix all of that together and you have a prime candidate for a UFC cut. However, I don’t think Woodley should be cut from the UFC. This article is completely going off of the assumption that more big names are going. Don’t be shocked if you see Woodley exit the promotion.