One very interested party will be watching the Vadim Nemkov vs. Corey Anderson fight this Friday at Bellator 288 — and that’s Yoel Romero.
Romero (15-6) will face the winner of Nemkov vs. Anderson 2, which closes the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, at Bellator 290 on February 4, 2023. Although he was competing at middleweight during his UFC bout, Romero has established himself as a 205-year-old since joining Bellator, and with a few wins under his belt, a title shot was all but certain.
CBS Sports was the first to break the news of Romero’s title shot on Friday.
At age 45, Cuban Romero, a former Olympian who won a silver medal at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, shows no signs of slowing down. He won both of his fights in 2022, scoring victories over top light heavyweight prospect Alex Polizzi and fellow veteran Melvin Manhoef.
Romero finished both fights on the feet, snapping a four-fight losing streak dating back to his time in the UFC, which included fights against Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya – three of the best 185lb fighters on the planet.
As for Anderson and Nemkov, they will be looking to close out the Bellator Million Dollar Welterweight Grand Prix on Friday after an earlier attempt to close out the tournament fell through. In April, Corey Anderson looked ahead in the pair’s first meeting when an accidental clash of heads while on the ground left champion Nemkov unable to continue. Since then, the division has been on hold waiting for a winner to emerge.
Yoel Romero is currently ranked #4 in the light heavyweight division, with only Ryan Bader (who said he’ll stick to heavyweight going forward), Phil Davis and Anderson ahead of him. Davis, a former Bellator champion himself, has lost twice to Nemkov, although he has a win over Romero and has yet to face Anderson.
Bellator 290 will take place on February 4, 2023 at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California. The Romero fight will serve as the evening’s co-main event, with Fedor Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader headlining the card.