Yoel Romero’s free agency didn’t last long.
Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting that the multi-time UFC title challenger has agreed to terms of a new deal with Bellator MMA. While pen has not officially gone to paper, per sources, Romero is expected to make his debut in 2021 at light heavyweight, although a date or opponent have yet to be announced.
ESPN was the first to report the addition.
“Soldier of God” was released from his UFC contract earlier this month. Despite reports that Bellator and PFL were not interested in Romero, his time without a promotional umbrella lasted a little over a week.
The 43-year-old enters Bellator on the heels of three consecutive losses, all of which came via decisions that have been met with some controversy. In his most recent bout, Romero challenged Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 248 and lost a unanimous decision. Prior to his fourth UFC title opportunity, Romero dropped decisions to Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker.
Per MMA Decisions, it was a 50-50 split on how reporters scored the loss to Costa, while 15 of 28 reporters scored the second meeting with Whittaker in favor of Romero—eight of which scored it a draw.
Romero becomes the second former UFC title challenger to join the Bellator roster, joining Anthony Johnson, who is also expected to make his promotional debut in 2021 in the light heavyweight division.