Former 205-pound champion and No. 3 ranked Phil Davis and MMA superstar Yoel Romero previewed their highly anticipated bout at BELLATOR 266: Davis vs. Romero during a virtual media day on Thursday. In a fight that has two men who like to press the action, the victor will have a serious argument to face the winner of the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix.
The BELLATOR MMA 266 main card begins live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from inside the SAP Center in San Jose, C.A. and also features a co-main event squaring off No. 4 ranked welterweight Neiman Gracie with Mark Lemminger along with No. 5 ranked women’s flyweight Alejandra Lara taking on San Jose’s own DeAnna Bennet.
Rounding out the SHOWTIME-televised main card, undefeated No. 8 ranked light heavyweight Christian Edwards takes on Ben Parrish at 205-pounds and “Insane” Georgi Karakhanyan matches up with Saul Rogers in a lightweight bout that is sure to bring fireworks.
Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:
Phil Davis: No. 3 ranked BELLATOR Light Heavyweight
“I think just the size advantage isn’t necessarily the only factor in the fight. I think he’s gone up against some rangy guys. Weight-wise I think he probably is one of the guys that may have adjusted to the weight better than most guys. He’s had a long layoff an opportunity to actually build up to the weight class. I think honestly the difference will be just a style matchup.”
“He and I are both very good at getting a read on the tempo and the footwork and another guys’ angles. I think there’s going to be a feeling out process where we’re both trying to see where the other person is spatially and see what kind of angles and feints and fakes were using. After that I think it’s 4th of July. Fireworks!”
“I honestly forgot how much I love San Jose. Fight week’s just been really chill. Every time I fight in San Jose it’s just always one of those good times. I have so many spots in this area that I frequent for food and such. It’s a good city in terms of fighting and has a great atmosphere so I’m excited to be here fighting at SAP Center and the Shark Tank.
Yoel Romero: BELLATOR Light Heavyweight
“Fans are going to be able to see my growth within mixed martial arts and that I’m always in great physical form. The experience that I’ve had so far with Bellator has been nothing but fantastic and I’m looking forward to taking part in this upcoming match.”
“I feel good because I didn’t have to drop weight. I just kept my own weight. I just switched divisions and kept my own weight. And I’ve always trained with heavyweights and light heavyweights within my training camp. I’m completely adapted to the heavier weights.”
“I’m so excited because I’m doing the one thing that I love so much and to do it for this company BELLATOR is even more exciting.”
Neiman Gracie: No. 4 ranked BELLATOR Welterweight
“As far as having the Gracie name there are two ways to look at it. You can have all the pressure on your shoulders, or you can enjoy and feel grateful to be able to carry the legacy and that’s how I feel. I feel grateful to be able to carry this legacy and to be out here representing. I believe I’m doing what I was born to do so I cannot be happier.”
“Fans can expect a submission on Saturday night. We’re going to see a clinic on Saturday night, I hope. That’s what I’m trained to do.”
“It’s going good. I trained with some of the best fighters in the world and I can’t be more ready for this fight. Of course, Renzo (Gracie) is here for my fight. If Renzo doesn’t come to my fight I wouldn’t fight neither. He has to be here.”
Mark Lemminger: BELLATOR Welterweight
“My family tree is harder than his. I’m not too shaken by the (Gracie) name. It would be cool to get a win over a Gracie because the MMA community really, really respects the Gracies, which they should. But to me he’s just another opponent and I mean that with the most respect. I really do.”
“I work with a lot of high-level wrestlers, so I think I’m gonna be a hard guy to get in those positions. If it goes there I’ve got a team full a full high-level grapplers that I’ve been working with for years so I’m really not shy if it ends up on the ground either. I’m feeling pretty good about this fight.”
“I don’t think it’s that important to showcase all my skills. I think what’s more important is that I win this fight. I don’t care how I do it to be honest with you. I wanna get in the top 10 and then keep progressing from there so whether that’s me knocking him out on the feet or if that’s me controlling him on the ground and then you using my ground and pound it don’t matter to me either way. I’m just focusing on winning.”
Alejandra Lara: BELLATOR Women’s Flyweight
“I feel like for this entire camp I was recovering my confidence and rediscovering who I am. Now I feel I’m at this point of my career where I feel more than ever stronger both physically and mentally. I definitely feel that I’m not afraid of anyone or anything and I’m very ready for this.”
“My last fight was close, but I was actually dehydrated since the first round. I didn’t feel my body and was out of energy. I know that everybody knew that I could win the fight, but this is a moment to learn to not leave anything to the judges and to show that I have the potential to be a champion.”
“Definitely my last loss made me realize that I was making some mistakes that are from a beginner, and I’m not a beginner anymore. So I want to take all of those things under my control. Now I feel it’s the moment to demonstrate that I’m ready for this. That I have what I need to be at the top.”
BELLATOR MMA 266: Davis vs. Romero Main Card:
Saturday, September 18 – live on SHOWTIME 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT
Light Heavyweight Main Event: #3-Phil Davis (22-6) vs. Yoel Romero (13-5)
Welterweight Bout: #4-Neiman Gracie (10-2) vs. Mark Lemminger (12-3)
Flyweight Bout: #5-Alejandra Lara (9-4) vs. DeAnna Bennett (10-7-1)
Lightweight Bout: Georgi Karakhanyan (31-11-1, 1 NC) vs. Saul Rogers (14-4)
Light Heavyweight Bout: #8-Christian Edwards (5-0) vs. Ben Parrish (4-1)
BELLATOR MMA YouTube Channel | SHOWTIME Sports YouTube Channel | Pluto TV 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT
Light Heavyweight Bout: #7-Grant Neal (6-0) vs. Alex Polizzi (8-1)
Middleweight Bout: Khalid Murtazaliev (15-2) vs. Anthony Adams (8-2)
175-Pound Contract Weight Bout: Abraham Vaesau(5-3, 1 NC) vs. Albert Gonzales (2-2)
Bantamweight Bout: Bobby Seronio III (Pro Debut) vs. Erin Hunter (Pro Debut)
Welterweight Bout: Rhalan Gracie (0-2) vs. Shane Keefe (1-0)
160-Pound Contract Weight Bout: Eddie Abasolo (Pro Debut) vs. Art Hernandez (4-5, 1 NC)
Flyweight Bout: Edwin De Los Santos (Pro Debut) vs. Jon Adams (0-1-1)
130-Pound Contract Weight Bout: Jesse Delgado (Pro Debut) vs. Joshua Dillon (1-1)
*Card subject to change.
For more information on upcoming BELLATOR MMA events, visit BELLATOR.com.