Bellator 266 Romero vs Davis Preview, Odds, and Betting Analysis

Phil Davis Vs Yoel Romero

This Saturday, September 18th 2021 on DAZN or PPV, Bellator 266 brings an exciting night of fights! Yoel Romero’s Bellator debut is underway, and fight fans couldn’t be more ready to see high-level fighters jumping to competing organizations.

A future where great fighters have dozens of highly competitive companies vying for the best fighters is good from the perspective of sports betting- more great fights, with better stats and video for analysts to study.

Currently, no prop bets have been released for this bout. The fourteen fight card has a stacked five five main card, with nine prelim bouts including many pros debuting on the part of some prospects coming from muay thai and college wrestling.

We’re digging up stats, past betting odds, fight records and style analysis to bring you our best picks for each of the fourteen bouts, starting with our main event and working down to some first-time pros.

Main Event: Yoel Romero vs Phil Davis – 5-RD Light Heavyweight

Fighter Yoel Romero Phil Davis
Odds -115 -115
Age 44 36
Height 5’10’’ 6’2’’
Reach 73’’ 78” Orthodox
Record 13-5 22-6, 1 NC
Total Fights 18 29
Submissions/TKO 0 submissions, 11 TKO 5 submissions, 6 TKO
Odds Last FIght +245 (Loss) +205 (Loss)
Phil Davis’s Strengths

  • Weight class and reach advantage.
  • Youth and strike frequency.
  • Submission game for counter wrestling.
Yoel Romero’s Strengths

  • Durability
  • Patience
  • Has fought better opponents.

Phil Davis has been a light heavyweight fighter for Bellator for twelve bouts. He left the UFC In 2015 after losing to Ryan Bader, and had a total of thirteen fights with the promotion. Only four fights of Phil’s entire pro MMA career have been outside of the premier 205 division of one promotion or another.

Yoel Romero left the UFC on a three-fight losing streak to Israel Adesanya, Whittaker, and Paulo Costa. A short career for such a high-caliber fighter, of his eighteen fights thirteen were inside the UFC. He was 9-4 for the promotion with seven finishes. Keep in mind all of these fights were inside the 185 division. Yoel is a lifelong middleweight even as a high-level wrestler.

Phil’s odds for the last five bouts include losses to Vedim Nemkov at -278 and +205. He won three bouts at -385, -450, -455 against Lyoto Machida, Karl Albrektsson and Liam McGeary. Phil’s performances in these bouts mostly reflected the odds. Outside of the first Vedim loss, he trounced the other three the way a strong favorite ought to.

Yoel Romero’s last three losses had him at +245, -160, and +245.
His last win was against Luke Rockhold in February 2018, where he was a +161 underdog. Before that, another loss to Robert Whittaker as a +110 underdog. Prior to the last five fights, Yoel was on an eight-fight winning streak, winning every bout since his entrance into the UFC. He knocked out big names like Derrick Brunson, Tim Kennedy, Lyoto Machida, and Chris Weidman. Keep in mind, the Brunson win was seven years ago.

Phil Davis has won four in the same time period that Yoel has won one fight. I bring this up because we have to consider Yoel’s age. At 44, Yoel may not be able to do much more than defend, which is mostly what he did for his last five bouts.  Davis was very active in his last four victories, finishing three by TKO.

Phil Davis can not do what he did against Machida, win point fighting exchanges and shoot for single legs. Yoel’s wrestling is better than Phil’s, even at his age. His UFC 78% takedown defense is a testament to that fact. Phil needs to bring longer range, tighter striking

Yoel was happy to stand and stay safe against Israel, and Phil should use that as a blueprint for fighting him. Still, Phil has shown an unrefined striking game and relies heavily on wrestling that I don’t see him utilizing against Romero. You’re getting an $0.87 per dollar return on either fighter, so the odds shouldn’t affect your choice too much.

I pick Phil Davis at -115

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Fight 13: Neiman Gracie vs Mark Lemminger – Welterweight

Fighter Neiman Gracie Mark Lemminger
Odds -275 +215
Age 32 28
Height 6’0’’ 6’0’’
Record 10-2 12-3
Total Fights 12 15
Submissions/TKO 9 submissions, 0 TKO 3 submissions, 6 TKO
Odds Last FIght -120 (Loss) -122 (Victory)

With both of these promising welterweights coming off losses, I expect to see the best of each fighter. Neiman Gracie’s only two losses have come in his last three fights. Mark Lemminger is 3-2 of his last five, a third loss coming by the UFC’s Jason Witt in 2018.

Neiman Gracie’s last five fight odds have been -120 and +185 on his losses, and -103, +350 and -1250 during his wins. His upset over Ed Ruth led to a bump in competition. His fight with Rory McDonald was something that revealed many of Neiman’s weaknesses, and it looked similar to the McDonald vs Diaz bout.

Lemminger was a favorite in his recent win over Demarques Jackson. He took back to back losses to Willis and Amosov at +165 and +600. Prior to that, he was a -111 and -105 underdog in two close wins over Ion Pascu and Issac Steele.  The oddsmakers appear to accurately predict Lemminger’s performances.

Gracie was on a tear of submissions before his first loss:
Finishing all opponents except for his decision win over Roger Carroll. He then submitted Jon Fitch in the second round.

We should consider Lemminger’s knockout power. He slept Jake Smith and Jackson in the second round, both wins happening within the last fourteen months. Gracie’s striking is elusive, but he’s not a striker by any stretch, and he does get caught.

Rory Mcdonald and Jason Jackson delivered different methods of defeating Neiman. Lemminger is more capable of a Jason Jackson-type win, winning striking exchanges and defending submissions with patient ground tactics.

However, I see Gracie improving from fight to fight. Neiman has shown that he’s willing to grow as a martial artist. I think the Lemminger fight is a path to get his career back on track. Lemminger is yet to face this level of submission specialist and struggled with grappling exchanges in all three of his losses.

I pick Neiman Gracie -275

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Fight 12: Alejandra Lara vs DeAnna Bennett – Flyweight

Fighter Alejandra Lara DeAnna Bennett
Odds -175 +145
Age 27 36
Height 5’7’’ 5’4’’
Record 9-4 10-7-1
Total Fights 13 18
Submissions/TKO 3 submissions, 4 TKO 2 submissions, 2TKO
Odds Last FIght -182 (Loss) +440 (Loss)
Bennet’s Weaknesses

  • Conditioning for three round bouts.
  • BJJ technique.
  • Defensive stand-up game is lacking.
Lara’s Weaknesses

  • Overall strength.
  • Grappling control.
  • Always looks to finish, fails taking score opps.

DeAnna Bennet has had a rocky career since her TUF appearance. She was on The Ultimate Fighter 26, and went 1-1 in exhibition matches. She fought in the finale to a draw. Bennett started fighting with an eight-fight winning streak. Her seven professional losses have come since 2017, losing seven of her last ten and four of her last five.

Alejandra Lara is the #7 ranked women’s flyweight in Bellator, falling two ranks after losing to currently unranked Kana Watanabe. Alejandra is 2-3 of her last five, and has lost to the Champion and #1 ranked contender.

Bennet’s odds have her as the underdog for her last bout, and a favorite at -165, -190 and +160 for the three fights prior with available odds. The odds makers were only correct in her loss to Carmouche.

Please Note:
Lara has only been available for betting on her five most recent previous bouts, including -182, -145, -900, +290, and +475. The oddsmakers were accurate on all counts except the most recent. She lost to Watanabe at -182 and won her other fights as a favorite.

Lara was dominated in her fight with MacFarlane and fought a close match with Velasquez and Watanabe.She’s a game competitor that can be out grappled. If we look closely at the challenges Lara has faced, we’ll find they all align with the threat’s that Bennet has posed.

I don’t feel the losses express the full story for Deanna. Many bouts she was winning. She was dominating Liz Carmouche despite being a massive underdog. Lara has been a strong favorite, despite struggling with the majority of opponents.

Lara looked great against Lena Ovchynnikova, but Lena struggled to weigh in above 123. She cut no weight, and still got taken down and rocked early. I think Bennet has a serious size and strength advantage.

I pick DeAnna Bennet at +145

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Fight 11: Georgi Karakhanyan vs Saul Rogers – Lightweight

Fighter Georgi Karakhanyan Saul Rogers
Odds -105 -125
Age 36 31
Height 5’8’’ 5’10’’
Record 31-11 14-4
Total Fights 42 21
Submissions/TKO 16 submissions, 7 TKO 9 submissions, 1 TKO
Odds Last FIght  -295 (Win) +170 (Loss)

In another close fight, we have two well-rounded fighters coming to hunt the finish.

Georgi is on a two-fight win streak, winning three of his last five. He racked up two submission finishes since February 2020, his first submission finishes since a rocky Bellator entrance in 2015. He’s fought for Bellator in 16 of his 42 bouts. Prior to his Bellator debut, he had only lost three times. Most of his submission victories are outside of the promotion.

Saul Rogers is another great grappler who is finding Bellator fighters are tougher to submit. He’s 2-2 in the promotion and 2-3 of his last five. He has one Bellator submission win over Arbi Mezhidov, and his other eight finishes are outside of the promotion. Saul won four bouts in the Ultimate Fighter and probably would have won, but issues with his visa stopped the British citizen from fighting at the finale.

Saul was the underdog at +170 and  +145 in his Bellator losses to Mads Burnell and Daniel Weichel. He held an accurate favorite status in his wins over Mezdihov and Aiden Lee.

Georgi upset Bryce Logan as a +125 underdog. He was a +200 and +650 underdog against Jury and McKee, losing both fights. The oddsmakers aren’t doing us any favors putting the fighters odds so closely together. From their perspective, we have a coin flip on our hands.

Saul Rogers defeated Ryan Hall in an exhibition on TUF. I feel confident in saying Georgi isn’t getting the submission. Georgi has hands, and could score the TKO. Daniel Weichel had a good strategy of snapping the jab and playing the outside to win a long decision. I’m not confident Georgi can replicate it.

Georgi has a great stepping jab and likes to shoot off the leg kick. He showed that he can wear out if he grapples too much too early vs Emmanuel Sanchez. His third round striking is unrefined, and he’s often hunting the finish when he should be winning the round.

Rogers pays out at $0.80 per dollar wagered, and Georgi at $0.87 per dollar wagered.

I pick Saul Rogers -125

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Fight 10: Christian Edwards vs Ben Parrish – Light Heavyweight

Fighter Christian Edwards Ben Parrish
Odds -700 +450
Age 22 31
Height 6’5’’ 6’0’’
Record 5-0 4-1
Total Fights 5 5
Submissions/TKO 1 submissions, 2 TKO 4 submissions, 0 TKO
Odds Last FIght -200 (Win) NA

Christian Edwards has only fought inside Bellator as a pro, with his pro debut in July of 2019. He’s defeated five Bellator fighters, with his recent win over Simon Biyong clearly posing his toughest challenge yet.

Ben Parrish is a lead instructor at the Tupelo Submission Academy. He holds all submission victories, and lost his last fight to Logan Woods due to an injured leg during a leg kick. Christian Edwards is clearly having his record padded by Bellator.

He’s obliterating fighters with little to no mma acumen. He trains out of Jackson Wink Academy in Albuquerque, the team that brought us everyone from GSP to Jon Jones.

Without going too deep into the woods, it would be a miracle if Ben Parrish wins this bout. The -700 only pays at $14 per $100 wagered. That pays for half a month of your DAZN subscription.

I pick Christian Edwards -700

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Preliminary Fights

I think it’s worth noting that the majority of the prelims are tough to gage. Many of these fighters are having their very first pro mma fight. That said, we can still look at things like physical stats, what gym they train at, and the number of amatuer finishes they have to determine a pick.

Fight 9: Grant Neal -210 vs Alex Polizzi +170

Grant Neal has an undefeated pro record and amatuer record. Alex Polizzi trains at the same gym as Lemminger, but Grant Neal is training with fighters like Nate Marquart on a daily basis.

I pick Grant Neal -210

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Fight 8: Khalid Murtazaliev -300 vs Anthony Adams +240

Khalid beat up CB Dolloway in the UFC in 2018. Anthony Adams trains alongside Grant Neal at Elevation, Nate Marquarts home gym. Anthony lost twice on DWCS by decision. This is going to be a hard fight, and in my opinion deserves a spot on the main card.

Anthony hasn’t been as active as Khalid, and Khalid’s striking has that constant forward pressure Russian’s are known for. Adams has more refined striking and will be focusing on winning the exchange without allowing the takedown.

I pick Anthony Adams +240

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Fight 7: Abraham Vaesau -150 vs Albert Gonzales +120

Vaesau is 1-1 in Bellator after his loss to Renato Valente in 2019. Albert Gonzales is a 6’4’’ Welterweight from Dethrone Base Camp. Dethrone is the current home to Josh Koscheck and a slew of other up and coming fighters.

Vaesau trains at Dragon House, a kung fu centered mma school. From my research, they have no other rising stars.

I pick Albert Gonzales +120

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Fight 6: Socrates Hernandez +170 vs Pedro Juarez -210

Socrates had a rocky 2-2 amatuer career while Pedro went 3-1. Pedro’s team, Last Stand, is home to several UFC and Bellator fighters including Michael McDonald. Socrates trains at a school primarily centered on BJJ. He’s a brown belt. Expect to see a Hernandez submission or a Pedro win.

I pick Pedro Juarez -210

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Fight 5: Robert Seronio III -600 vs Erin Hunter +400

Both of these fighters are making their professional debut this Saturday night.

Seronio is an undefeated amatuer and Erin is 3-3. Both fighters are fighting out of little known schools with few fighters.

I pick Robert Seronio IIi -600

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Fight 4: Rhalan Gracie +155 vs Shane Keffe -185

Gracie had an unfortunate start to his mma career, losing his first two pro bouts.

Shane Keefe holds a head kick KO in his first pro bout, and a submission win in his first amatuer bout.

Shane fights out of the prestigious AKA while Rhalan runs his own school.

I pick Shane Keffe -185

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Fight 3: Eddie Abasolo -230 vs Art Hernandez +190

I’ve had my eyes on Eddie Abasolo for some time. As a striker, he’s quite good. Only 2-2 as a professional kickboxer, but he was disqualified in one bout and robbed in another.

Art Hernandez is 4-5 on a four-fight losing streak. He’s been knocked out twice in his short career. I’m sure he has other plans, but I think this is a great first bout for Eddie to put his skills on display.

I pick Eddie Abasolo -230

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Fight 2: Edwin De Los Santos -700 vs Jonathon Adams +450

Edwin is an undefeated amatuer making a pro debut. He knocked out three of his amatuer opponent’s in under two minutes.

John Adams is 0-1-1, fighting twice for Bellator undercards. He doesn’t claim a major affiliation. Everyone has a puncher’s chance, but that’s all Adams brings to the table.

I pick Edwin De Los Santos at -700

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Fight 1: Jesse Delgado -350 vs Joshua Dillon +275

Jesse Delgado is making his pro debut. He was a decorated college wrestler at University of Illinois. Last I could find, he was training at Renzo Gracie Team Pittsburgh learning submission tactics for the takedown.

Joshua Dillon isn’t an easy fight. He’s 1-1 as a pro and was 3-2 as an amatuer. His stance needs some work, and I’d love to see him in a better camp to elevate his career. He appears to be training at a UFC Gym.

I pick Jesse Delgado -350

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Bellator 266 Wrap Up

Is there anything you wanted to see in the preview that you didn’t? What do you want to see more of? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Jacob Clark / Author

Jacob Clark had a 15 year career as a professional MMA fighter, coach, and Greg Jackson’s alum. Now, TikTok’s 12th most important BJJ influencer is bringing his sports and betting knowledge to you here at TheSportsGeek. He spends his time cooking vietnamese food and playing D&D with his family. You can meet him at jiu-jitsu open mats all over Indiana.

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