Bellator 266 results, highlights: Phil Davis spoils Yoel Romero’s promotional debut with decisive victory

For all the talk of potential fireworks that could come from Yoel Romero’s Bellator MMA debut, Phil Davis just did what he does best on Saturday.

Davis (23-6, 1 NC), a former 205-pound champion, controlled the distance and skillfully handled the danger of Romero’s power by securing five unanswered strikeouts en route to a split decision victory at the SAP Center of San Jose, California.

Despite the tight scoreline in the Bellator 266 main event, which saw a judge inexplicably score it 29-28 for Romero, it was a tense fight early on that Davis clearly dominated late. The 36-year-old won scorecards in his favor at 30-27 and 30-26 to rebound from a narrow loss to defending champion Vadim Nemkov in their rematch in April, which knocked Davis out of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix. .

Romero (13-6), the 44-year-old ageless wonder, called off an 18-month layoff in his first light heavyweight fight since 2011. Admit after the fight in a fit of frustration that he didn’t know he had contracted for three rounds instead of five.

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“Dude, he’s a monster,” Davis said. “I have felt that power more times than I would have liked tonight. He is an incredibly powerful fighter.”

Romero missed tremendously with big counterattack attempts, but maintained strong defense and the threat of his power through a series of feints that kept the tension going for Davis even as fans began to boo the lack of. combat action at the end of the first frame.

Davis made sure to pump his jab throughout as an aggressor and stayed that way despite largely insufficient attempts on the right hand attempts. After a boring first lap, Davis picked up the pace on lap 2 despite being wobbled by a leg kick. He scored a late withdrawal to secure the lap on two of the judges’ scorecards.

The final round was all Davis, all the time. He recorded four more eliminations and was active from the top of the guard with elbows, punches and knees to the ribs against a suddenly exhausted Romero.

“I felt [Romero fading] and that didn’t give me enough security, ”Davis said. “I felt at the end of the second lap that he was slowing down a bit.

“You have to use wrestling. God bless wrestling, the best sport in the world.”

Romero has tasted defeat for the fifth time in his last six fights. Unlike his previous three, however, there would be very little debate over which scorecards he apparently did enough to win.

CBS Sports was with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., With our live blog below. Stay tuned for updates overnight.

Bellator 266 card, results

  • Phil Davis beat. Yoel Romero by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-26)
  • Neiman Gracie beat. Mark Lemminger via TKO in the first round (punches)
  • Deanna Bennett beat. Alejandra Lara via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Saul Rogers beat. Georgi Karakhanyan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Ben Parrish defeated Christian Edwards by first round knockout (punch)
  • Alex Polizzi beat. Grant Neal by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Anthony Adams beat. Khalid Murtazaliev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Bobby Seronio III defeated. Socrate Hernandez via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-26, 29-26)
  • Abraham Vaesau beat. Albert Gonzales via TKO in the first round (punches)
  • Shane Keefe beat. Rhalan Gracie via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Edwin de los Santos beat. Jon Adams via TKO in the first round (strikes)
  • Jesse Delgado beat. Joshua Dillon via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)