Bellator 280: Yoel Romero Looking Ahead to 185 Pound Return, After Manhoef Fight

After stumbling out of the gate in his promotional debut last year against Phil Davis, Yoel Romero is back in the win column.

Romero (14-6) put on a smart performance Friday in Paris at Bellator 280, landing his left hand on Alex Polizzi again and again while hampering his mobility with well-placed kicks. Several knockdowns ensued, and the end came with just one second remaining in the fight.

Having snapped a four-fight skid dating back to 2018, the Cuban standout, 45, is now looking ahead. Following the win, Bellator officials brought Melvin Manhoef into the cage at the AccorHotels Arena; that fight is now set for Dublin, Ireland in September.

Manhoef was Romero’s original opponent, until an injury forced him off the card. Romero, meanwhile, addressed his fighting future following the win.

“As you guys saw, they brought in Melvin Manhoef to the stage, but my future, I see farther than that. I feel like I’m going to do another fight at 185, and then continue on that route, and get in line for that belt,” Romero said during his post-fight media appearance, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.

It’s a real possibility, according to Romero. “Me and my managers, the scope of the landscape is, with Bellator we’re agreed that we’re fighting at both weight classes, 205 and 185. What I personally want is to fight a top-ranked opponent at 185, [then] to hopefully fight the winner of [Gegard] Mousasi and his opponent for the 185 pound belt. That’s what I want.”

Middleweight champ Mousasi is currently lined up for a title fight in June, against Johnny Eblen.

Asked by Cageside Press if the end of the year would make sense for a middleweight fight, after the fight with Manhoef, Romero replied by saying that “if everything goes well in the fight against Manhoef, then I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to contend for a title belt, 185, for the next fight.  I have spent almost my entire career at 185, I didn’t get the belt in the UFC at 185 but I am the best in the world. I’m here now in Bellator, and I’m going to take the belt in Bellator at 185.”

Watch the full Bellator 280 post-fight press conference with Yoel Romero above.