Preview and prediction for Phil Davis vs. Yoel Romero at Bellator 266.
The Bellator 266 main event features an intriguing light heavyweight matchup between two of the best grapplers in all of MMA: Yoel Romero and Phil Davis. But, fans might want to expect a more active striking battle than anticipated on paper, as both fighters have developed their standup for years.
Davis is looking to get back in the thick of things in the Bellator light heavyweight title picture, after falling to Vadim Nemkov in the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. Just five months after the crushing defeat, Davis is back in the cage to welcome the Bellator newcomer Romero to the division.
Romero makes the move to 205 pounds after being a mainstay in the UFC’s middleweight division, fighting for the interim belt twice and the middleweight championship another two times. He’s looking to get back on track with a win over Davis to snap a three-fight losing streak.
But, that might be easier said than done against the bigger and longer Davis. Standing at 6’2″, Davis also holds a six-inch reach advantage (79″) and more experience at light heavyweight. Romero hasn’t fought at light heavyweight since competing in Strikeforce back in 2011 and made the move up in weight after a series of brutal weight cuts.
In Romero’s most recent loss to Israel Adesanya last year, he opened up a bit tentative before exploding late in the fight in rounds 4 and 5. Even during his signature blitzes on the feet, he was unable to land significant strikes as Adesanya eliminated Romero’s attack.
It’s a massive fight for both fighters, in a potential No. 1 contender bout who could face the winning of the ongoing Light Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Who will win at Bellator 266: Phil Davis or Yoel Romero?
Despite their physical differences, both fighters have a similar style in the cage. Both Davis and Romero are accomplished wrestlers, with Romero being a former Olympic silver medalist and Davis earning an NCAA wrestling title at Penn State.
The difference in this fight could be in the striking exchanges. Davis will look to utilize his leg kicks which have knocked his opponents out in the past, to control the range and avoid Romero’s explosions. If Romero wants to begin his Bellator tenure on a positive note, he’ll need to work inside and attempt to control the fight from the clinch.
Another aspect of the fight to watch out for will be Romero’s gas tank. He’s had a history of slowing down as the fight goes on and entering a fight an extra 20 pounds heavier could be a factor. Davis has competed virtually his entire MMA career at light heavyweight.
Fans never know what they’ll get out of a Romero fight. Whether or not he’ll look to push the pace remains to be seen, but Davis has all the tools to dominate Romero and walk away with a dominant win.
Romero will more than likely look to get off to a fast start, but Davis will control the fight after the opening minutes using his range and wrestling.
Prediction: Davis by unanimous decision
Bellator 266 takes place on Saturday, Sept. 18, live from the SAP Center in San Jose, CA. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your live results and highlights.