Matchup: Phil Davis vs Yoel Romero
Date: Sunday, Sept. 18
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Location: SAP Center San Jose, CA
Strategy is all Romero Should Be Thinking
Rushing your opponent is a gamble for many fighters. So 44-year-old Yoel Romero will have to ask himself when to take risks going up against Phil Davis. And he’ll have to be careful. Because if the fight is not going his way, damage control mode could be engaged by Romero.
Losing in a boring fight off his back to Davis may hurt Romero’s stock less than the risk of getting caught with a KO in his Bellator debut. If Romero becomes selective with his strikes and wins exchanges early forcing Davis into takedown mode, perhaps you see Romero on his back for five rounds in a lackluster performance that he loses. That doesn’t look good, but it doesn’t make him look old. If that makes you feel that this fight is going to decision, you can take the over by betting online.
We saw what happened at UFC 241 against Paulo Costo. Romero was able to win an exchange and knockdown Costo early in the first round, but the bigger, stronger Costo was able to weather the storm. After that knockdown, Romero found himself down two rounds going into the third and final round. Romero finished the fight strongly but it wasn’t enough on the scorecards.
Not only does Davis have the size to potentially absorb some of Romero’s strikes as Costo did, but if Davis finds himself in any type of danger because of Romero’s strikes he’ll have his wrestling to turn to as well.
Romero is going up against a bigger, taller wrestler in Phil Davis who also happens to have more reach as well. Not only does Romero have to employ a plan for takedown-defense to nullify some of Davis’ takedown attempts, but he’ll also have to be wary of a lucky strike by Davis as well.
There are reasons for both of these fighters to fight smart. Davis is coming off his loss challenging for the Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship. Romero is entering the ring for the first time since the UFC released him and the first time since Bellator CEO Scott Coker had a change of heart on signing him to the promotion.
What Could Force Romero into a Conservative Approach?
For starters, this is the longest layoff of Yoel Romero’s career and it happened in his early forties. We’ve seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes down to fighters who return to a cage following a long layoff. They can look really good or look really bad. We don’t anticipate it will be Evander Holyfield bad.
Romero is also coming off of a three-fight losing streak and his release papers from the biggest mixed martial arts promotions in the world. It came to many as a surprise because true MMA fans know that simply seeing that losing streak on Romero’s win-loss gives you a completely different perspective than the story that was told had you actually watched his fights in those losses. The outcomes of his last two fights in the UFC have to add to the pressure for Romero.
We mentioned the Costo fight. He gets a knockdown in the first, but trails for most of the fight. Romero had an amazing third round and MMA fans would have loved to see a five-round fight. Who knows how Romero would have returned had there been 10 additional minutes sanctioned for that bout.
Following that bout, Romero faced one of the greatest fighters to ever step in an octagon in Israel Adasenya at 42 years of age. He lost a decision in a very uneventful middleweight title fight that got a ton of criticism.
What If He loses Bellator Debut?
If Romero loses you can expect some time off and another fight under the Bellator banner. Romero signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator not too long after being released by the UFC. Romero is clearly big enough of a name who has shown he can compete at high levels in the latter portion of his career. He helps the Bellator brand. He’s had a relationship with Scott Coker during his years with Strikeforce. There are enough fighters and matchups Coker can make with Romero for a multi-fight deal. These are all things that give Romero a mental safety blanket by knowing he’ll probably get another fight and the works for a lackluster bout.
This doesn’t mean that a fight between Davis and Romero should have never happened. It’s simply an odd fight to make considering Romero’s age, the layoff, and the risk of it being a low exciting fight.