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Yoel Romero expected to sign with Bellator

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Yoel Romero is expected to sign a multi-fight contract with Bellator and will debut in the light heavyweight division in 2021, reports ESPN; We pick five possible opponents Romero could face in the Bellator cage

Yoel Romero MMA

Yoel Romero is expected to sign a multi-fight contract with Bellator and will debut in 2021 in the light heavyweight division, according to ESPN.

Romero was cut from the UFC in early December, ending his seven-year stint with the company. The 43-year old is expected to fight in the 205-pound division, but a date for his debut has not been set yet.

Initially, Bellator president Scott Coker had passed on Romero, telling MMA Junkie that the company was moving away from “signing OGs” in favour of developing home-grown talent. However, Coker did state that he was open to further dialogue.

The Cuban signed for UFC in 2013 and went on an eight-fight winning streak, leading him to an interim middleweight championship bout with Robert Whittaker in 2017. Romero lost the fight by unanimous decision.

Romero’s most recent fight was a loss to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision in March, leaving him a 1-4 record upon his UFC release.

With Romero now heading into a new promotion and weight class, we pick out five potential opponents for the ‘Soldier of God’.

Vadim Nemkov

Vadim Nemkov

Record: 12-2

Notable wins: Ryan Bader to win the Bellator light-heavyweight title, Liam McGeary and Rafael Carvalho.

At just 28 years old, Vadim Nemkov is one of Bellator’s rising stars. Currently unbeaten in the company and the current 205-pound champion, Nemkov is a protégé of the legendary MMA heavyweight and Sambo master Fedor Emelianenko.

Vadim Nemkov

The Russian made an instant impact with wins over former champions McGeary, Phil Davis and Carvalho.

Then at Bellator 244, Nemkov beat champ-champ Bader with a dominant performance, claiming a TKO win in the second round. Romero might have to notch a couple of victorious before Scott Coker contemplates a title fight.

Corey Anderson

Corey Anderson celebrates after beating Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 251

Record: 14-5

Notable wins: Melvin Manhoef in Bellator debut, Jan Błachowicz and Glover Teixeira in UFC

Anderson only made his Bellator debut in November after signing a multi-fight deal with the company after being granted his release from UFC earlier this year.

Corey Anderson beats Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 251

The 31-year-old won UFC’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ back in 2014 and despite being a light heavyweight contender, Anderson was never given the opportunity at UFC gold.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson Glover Teixeira during their light heavyweight bout at the UFC 202 event at T-Mobile Arena on August 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnson won by first-round knockout.

Record: 22-6

Notable wins: Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira and Phil Davis all in the UFC

The ink on Rumble’s Bellator contact still hasn’t dried yet, but fans are still salivating on who the former UFC light-heavyweight contender could face. With the news of Romero’s signing, fans will be hoping that Scott Coker puts these two warriors together for their debuts in the company.

Johnson’s last competitive fight was back in 2017 when he lost to Daniel Cormier via submission at UFC 210.

Gegard Mousasi

Mousasi Bellator

Record: 47-7-2

Notable wins: Douglas Lima to win the Bellator middleweight champion, Lyoto Machida and Rory MacDonald

The current middleweight champion told Sky Sports back in October that he would be open to move up to the 205-pound division, becoming a dual champion at the same time, That path could see him being matched up with Romero.

Gegard Mousasi MMA

The veteran with over 50 fights to his name, Mousasi has fought at 205 pounds before, holding championships at Strikeforce and DREAM.

Ryan Bader

Ryan Bader Scott Coker Bellator

Record: 14-5

Notable wins: Phil Davis to win the Bellator light-heavyweight title and Fedor Emelianenko, winning the Bellator heavyweight grand prix and vacant title.

The current heavyweight champion might find his 2021 filled with title defences, but if Bader wants to be called ‘champ-champ’ again and regain the 205-pound title, than a win over Romero would certainly put him back in the hunt for Nemkov’s championship.


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