Cuban Yoel Romero is gearing up for his Bellator debut, again. The former UFC star will fight Phil Davis on Sept. 18 at the SAP Center in San Jose, sources told ESPN. The light heavyweight fight will be televised on Showtime.
Romero (13-5) was set to fight another former UFC title challenger, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, on May 7, but failed pre-fight medical tests due to an eye injury.
The 44-year-old was released by the UFC in December and quickly bonded with Bellator. The Cuban’s last fight in the Octagon was in March 2020, in a decision loss to Israel Adesanya for the middleweight championship at UFC 248.
The setback was Romero’s third consecutive loss, all against elite competition. The other two losses, against Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker, were also by decision.
Romero experienced weight problems in the UFC, and twice failed to meet the 185 middleweight limit for championship fights. At Bellator, he will compete at 205 pounds.
Despite his experience as an Olympic silver medalist, Romero displayed devastating power in the Octagon, with knockouts from Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Lyoto Machida and Derek Brunson.
In Davis, he will face another former UFC fighter (and another accomplished fighter). Davis (22-6) was the NCAA Division 1 champion at Penn State University and quickly turned pro. His UFC resume includes wins over Machida and Glover Teixeira. His three losses in the Octagon were against Johnson, Rashad Evans and Ryan Bader.
The 36-year-old fighter won the Bellator light heavyweight championship with a decision over Liam McGeary, but lost the title in his next fight, a split decision loss to Bader.
Davis is coming off a loss to Vadim Nemkov in April. His fight with Romero will be part of a Showtime combat sports doubleheader. Earlier that night, PBC will host a 122-pound title unification bout between Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa in Las Vegas at Showtime Championship Boxing.
MMA reporter Ariel Helwani was the first to report on the Romero-Davis fight.