Bellator 266 took place on Saturday night live from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. In the night’s main event, former Bellator light heavyweight champion Phil Davis welcomed former UFC middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero to the Bellator cage.
Also, Bellator 266’s co-main event featured a matchup in the welterweight division between fourth ranked contender Neiman Gracie and Mark Lemminger. Gracie looked to pick up a big win in that fight to stay towards the top of the division, meanwhile Lemminger looked to win the biggest fight of his career.
As for the rest of the card, every fight was entertaining as there were back and forth matchups as well as one sided dominations and some impressive finishes. The main card opened up with a huge first round knockout in less than a minute as Ben Parrish defeated eighth ranked light heavyweight contender Christian Edwards. In the two fights following that, Saul Rogers and DeAnna Bennett both secured pretty one sided unanimous decision victories.
Neiman Gracie Defeats Mark Lemminger by TKO in Round One at Bellator 266
Coming into the fight with a 1-2 record in his last two fights, with a loss in his most recent outing, fourth ranked Neiman Gracie needed a win in this fight to keep his name at the top of the division. He was facing off against Mark Lemminger, who entered the fight with a record of 12-3. He too entered the fight with a record of 1-2 in his last two fights. However, unlike Gracie, Lemminger entered the fight coming off of a win in his most recent fight.
In their fight at Bellator 266, Gracie made easy work of Lemminger. It did not take long for Gracie to back his opponent up towards the fence. Once Gracie had him there, he began connecting with hard punches. At times, it seemed Gracie wanted to get the fight down to the ground as he would change levels, only to go back to his striking after landing almost everything he threw.
Eventually, the pressure and punishment were too much as the referee was forced to step in and stop the fight, awarding Gracie his first TKO finish as a professional fighter. After the fight was over, Gracie took to the mic to call out top five welterweight contender Michael Page. Page is currently scheduled for a rematch against Douglas Lima in two weeks.
Phil Davis Edges Out Split Decision Over Yoel Romero in Bellator 266’s Main Event
Round one between these two light heavyweights could have gone either way as they did not show all that much output in the first five minutes. It was in the second round that the action started to pick up after Romero landed a hard combination of punches that seemed to have stunned Davis. Following that, Davis attempted the first takedown of the fight, but failed as Romero easily stuffed it.
Romero probably had his best round in the second five minutes as he landed the aforementioned combination as well as multiple inside leg kicks. During the final minute of that round, Davis landed the first takedown of the fight, and held Romero there until the end of the second round.
When round three came along, Romero seemed to have gassed just a bit as Davis was easily able to secure another takedown less than one minute into the round. The final five minutes of the fight consisted of Davis landing multiple takedowns where Romero would eventually get back up, only to be taken down again. When the fight was over, Davis seemed to have clearly secured himself the final two rounds to win himself the decision.
After Bellator 266
As both Phil Davis and Neiman Gracie secured big wins on Saturday, they both look ahead to what is next. Earlier, it was mentioned that Gracie wants a matchup with Michael Page. With Page currently booked to fight Douglas Lima, it will be interesting to see if Gracie wants him through win or loss. If Gracie is no longer interested after a Page loss, he could be paired up with Lima instead.
As for Davis, his sights have always been set on getting back to the light heavyweight title he held about five years ago. Currently, Vadim Nemkov holds the title and he also holds two wins over Davis already. The most recent of those was in the opening round of the ongoing Light Heavyweight Grand Prix as Nemkov won by unanimous decision. With the tournament still going on, Davis is open to replacing anyone that is forced out of it. But if the grand prix plays out unharmed, Davis may have to wait until it’s over to get either another title shot or a title eliminator.
Following Bellator 266, the next Bellator event will be Bellator 267, which goes down in two weeks. That fight will take place on October 1 in London, England as Douglas Lima and Michael Page face off in the main event.