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Right after the bell rang to close the second round of their light heavyweight bout, Yoel Romero tapped Alex Polizzi softly on the back of the head, as if to send the message that he’s doing fine – but also let him down gently.
Nothing from that point on was gentle, though.
Romero continued to stalk Polizzi and outclass him for almost 15 minutes before blasting him a few more times, en route to a TKO win at the 4:59 mark of the third round of the Bellator 280 co-main event.
Yoel Romero. Again.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) May 6, 2022
Romero (14-6 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) had more than one moment when it seemed he could finish the fight if he wanted, as he dropped Polizzi (10-2 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) with hard left hands a total of four times. But on each occasion, he stopped and gestured to the crowd at Accor Arena in Paris instead of rushing. It wasn’t until the closing seconds of the final frame that Romero pounced on a bloodied Polizzi after dropping him.
“I wanted to deliver a message. And I think I did,” Romero said afterward.
With the win, Romero snapped a four-fight losing streak and won for the first time since Feb. 11, 2018 when he knocked out Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.
After the win, Bellator announced a re-booking between Romero and Melvin Manhoef, whom he was supposed to face Friday, at Bellator Dublin on Sept. 23.
Updated Bellator 280 results include:
Yoel Romero def. Alex Polizzi via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:59
Davy Gallon def. Benjamin Brander via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:18
Lorenz Larkin def. Kyle Stewart via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:44
Gregory Babene def. Mike Shipman via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:11
Piotr Niedzielski def. Pedro Carvalho via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Thibault Gouti def. Lewis Long via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jordan Barton def. Fabacary Diatta via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Soren Bak def. Charlie Leary via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Yves Landu def. Gavin Hughes via TKO (body kick) – Round 1, 3:01
Lucie Bertaud def. Katarzyna Sadura via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Youcef Ouabbas def. Matthieu Letho via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:17
Bourama Camara def. Victor Verchere via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:06