The Bellator debut for former UFC title challenger Yoel Romero will have to wait. The Cuban “Soldier of God” failed a pre-fight health screening, and while the specifics are currently unknown, he has been confirmed to be no longer participating the the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix and his quarterfinal matchup with Anthony Johnson. The Johnson-Romero matchup was scheduled for next Friday, May 7. A tournament alternate is currently being sought, but it is still undetermined whether that fight will still occur at Bellator 258 or not. Brian Campbell of CBS Sports was the first to report the news.
— Brian Campbell (@BCampbell) April 30, 2021
Yoel Romero Out of Bellator World Grand Prix
A 43 year old former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, Yoel Romero was looking to get back on track, currently riding a three-fight losing streak and has lost four of his last five. While still a top middleweight contender, the UFC decided to part ways with him given his age and seeming inability to get over the proverbial hump to UFC champion after multiple chances.
He then reunited with former boss Scott Coker with Bellator looking for a new career resurgence. The fight with “Rumble” Johnson was expected to be just that, but the ageless wonder will have to wait just a while longer as the failed screening carries a minimum three-month suspension. Coker did state that the he hopes to reschedule the Johnson bout in the future.
Who Should Face Johnson?
The two most logical options would be Karl Albrektsson and Julius Anglickas. Both fighters picked up unanimous decision victories at Bellator 257 in pretty dominant fashion over talented opposition. Anglickas is ranked fourth in the current Bellator rankings, and arguably should have been in the tournament to begin with. Tenth-ranked Albrektsson, meanwhile, has faced stout competition as well, including a win over current champion Vadim Nemkov. If Albrektsson were to get past Johnson, that would set up for a rematch between him and Nemkov in the Grand Prix semifinals. Other names to watch out for are Melvin Manhoef, Gegard Mousasi, Tyree Fortune, and Grant Neal.