Yoel Romero Slated To Ink Multi-Fight Deal With Bellator Following UFC Release
By Ross Markey
Former UFC middleweight contender and multiple-time title challenger, Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero is in line for a move to Bellator MMA — following his release from the Dana White led organization two week’s ago.
Romero, who plys his trade with American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida came to terms with the UFC for his release a couple of weeks ago, despite having three fights remaining on his contract. Immediately following the news of Romero’s departure, his manager, Malki Kawa informed Ariel Helwani that discussions were already underway with various outfits for Romero to continue his career under their respective banners. Today, according to ESPN MMA reporter, Helwani, Bellator MMA has won the Romero sweepstakes.
Romero, who hasn’t featured in the light heavyweight division professionally since September 2011 is also expected to make his Bellator debut in 2021, back at 205-pounds for the first time in ten-years, joining some recent high-profile promotion movers.
The 43-year-old Pinar del Rio native is slated to join up with former two-time light heavyweight title chaser, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson, who himself penned a multi-fight deal with the Scott Coker led banner having come to mutual terms on his UFC release last week. Romero also links with The Ultimate Fighter 19 victor, Corey Anderson who recently debuted in the organization with a second-round knockout of Melvin Manhoef.
With an Octagon stint spanning just shy of seven-years, Romero had established a 9-4 record under the UFC’s scrutiny. Arriving from the once Coker led Strikeforce promotion, Romero went on to finish three former world champions in the form of Lyoto Machida, Chris Weidman, and Luke Rockhold, in between a decision win over former Strikeforce 185-pound best, Ronaldo Souza.
Romero was scheduled to make his first Octagon outing since a forgettable unanimous decision defeat to titleholder, Israel Adesanya in March at UFC 248 — at UFC Vegas 16 in August, but withdrew from a matchup with TUF 17 finalist, Uriah Hall due to undisclosed reasons.
As of writing, an opponent or debut date for the Cuban favourite’s Bellator debut has yet to be determined.