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Former Bellator champion Phil Davis is looking to reach the pinnacle of the light heavyweight division once again but has a tough test to pass first on Saturday.
Davis (22-6 MMA, 9-3 BMMA), who is looking to rebound from a title challenge loss to Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 257, has an explosive and powerful opponent in his way in Yoel Romero (13-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA).
The bout serves as the main event of Bellator 266, which takes place at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main card airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET following preliminary bouts on MMA Junkie starting at 7 p.m. ET.
“I think he’ll be just like any other light heavyweight,” Davis told MMA Junkie when asked about Romero’s size and abilities in moving up a weight class. “Extremely powerful, strong, quick – you just gotta work with what you get once you get there.”
Davis expects the former UFC middleweight title challenger will have made the necessary adjustments to be well-prepared for the change in weight, given the amount of time he’s been away from action. Romero’s last outing was a unanimous decision loss in a title fight against Israel Adesanya at UFC 248 in March 2020.
Despite moving to Bellator coming off a loss, Davis remained excited for the opportunity to take on Romero when it was announced that he signed with the promotion in December.
“Any time you have a guy like him, my mind immediately goes towards, ‘I can’t wait to test my skills against him,'” Davis said. “I know that’s sort of like a weird thing, because a spectator would be like, ‘I would not want to be in there (with Romero),’ but I definitely want to be in there.”
Knowing that Romero is a big name, Davis believes a victory over him would be very good for his positioning in the division but said that it was not a motivating factor in preparation to set himself up for another title shot. The fight against a tough opponent like Romero, who he was a fan of during his UFC tenure.
Both fighters will be entering the Bellator cage coming off title losses, but Davis sees his shortcoming as an opportunity to grow ahead of one of the biggest fights in his career.
“You get fights like that and it’s an opportunity to grow,” Davis said. “Just like anything in life gives you, it’s an opportunity to learn from it, grow from it, and keep moving.”
Watch the full pre-fight interview with Phil Davis in the video above.