Nemkov defeated Romero. But the 46-year-old Cuban deserved applause: he finished the fight lying on the champion
Light heavyweight Vadim Nemkov defeated all the top Bellator tops, and the promotion did not find anything better than to challenge him with 46-year-old Yoel Romero.
The Cuban in his first fight in Bellator lost a split decision to a very strong Phil Davis, and then scored two early victories – over Alex Police and Melvin Manhoef (he is a year older than Romero and has been performing at a professional level for almost 30 years). Objectively: Nemkov’s victory was expected, and rather easy.
At first, the fight went like this. Nemkov worked from a distance, pulled, while Romero tried to counterattack – but to no avail: in the first two rounds, he did not cause any damage to the Russian fighter – none at all. Vadim, on the other hand, threw a lot of blows – he kicked a lot (both in the head and in the body, he even twisted the turntables), he worked serially. Best of all, the right straight shot flew into the target – the signature blow of the Belgorod citizen.
Romero shook from time to time, as if it was bad for him, but the Cuban stood. And in the third round, feeling that the tonnage of blows had decreased, he began to grimace – to portray as if he was shocked, as if he was being stormed. And such antics went into his hands – at the end of the round, Yoel was for a second behind Nemkov, who lost his balance and fell. But Vadim had enough skill so that this episode did not turn into something dangerous.
In the fourth round, Romero began to press. I missed a lot, but, as already mentioned, Nemkov’s shots were not at all as hard as in the first 10 minutes. In the end, the Cuban exploded – he hit with the right in a jump, then with an uppercut. And the 46-year-old fighter completely took the fifth round. About a minute before the siren, he knocked down Nemkov after they got hooked in the clinch, and lay on him until the very end.
Vadim assumed that his age opponent would not have enough functionality for five rounds. However, Romero cheerfully worked all 25 minutes. Unique athlete. At a high level, he, a former freestyle wrestler (silver medalist of the 2000 Olympics, world champion in 1999), has been performing for more than 25 years. During this time, he suffered many injuries, tough weight races, but still poses a danger to anyone – as it turned out, even Nemkov, one of the best light heavyweights in the world. Yes, Yoel has a lot of losses. But neither Nemkov, nor Israel Adesanya, nor Robert Whittaker, nor Paulo Costa – much, much younger – could finish it. Hardy, strong, creative, cunning. Bravo, Romero.
“I am proud to be in a cage with such a fighter,” said Vadim Nemkov after the fight. He has a very strong head, he is very strong for his age. I was a little embarrassed [Romero’s behavior during the fight], I saw that he was playing for the audience, pulling on himself, so I did not climb into his distance, tried to break on my own, hit a lot. But he’s very strong.”
Of course, Nemkov would have liked to see a more convincing fifth round. But the main thing is the final result: Vadim defended his Bellator title for the fourth time.