On Saturday night, Yoel Romero finally makes his Bellator debut when he faces Phil Davis in the main event of Bellator 266 from SAP Center in San Jose, California. The fight gives both men an opportunity to establish positioning in the light heavyweight division while the rest of the World Light Heavyweight Grand Prix plays out.
Romero was originally supposed to be a part of that tournament but was forced out of his bout with Anthony Johnson due to an injury. Davis, a former Bellator 205-pound champion, dropped his first-round fight to current light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov. A win at Bellator 266 is necessary for either man to get close to a shot at the tournament winner and the championship.
Elsewhere on the card, Neiman Gracie looks to get back in the win column when he faces off with Mark Lemminger in a welterweight contest. Gracie has suffered his only pro defeats in two of his last three fights with both coming by decision to Rory MacDonald and Jason Jackson. The submission specialist has secured nine wins by tap, including an impressive stoppage of Jon Fitch in September 2020. He gets a tough out in Lemminger, who has won five of his last seven with his two losses coming against current welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov and Jaleel Willis.
Caesars Sportsbook has you covered with every angle of Bellator 266 to get in on the action. We're going to give you a few options to consider with this card from our favorite moneyline play, prop play and parlay play. Let's take a closer look at those picks now.
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Best moneyline pick
Georgi Karakhanyan +105 vs. Saul Rogers
Karakhanyan has gone 3-1 since returning to the lightweight division. He's a veteran in the Bellator cage and an always-dangerous opponent. That said, he's accepting this fight with Rogers on short notice and has said he's fighting out his contract with the promotion in this outing. Rogers is a good opponent and a difficult fighter to face on short notice, but he's also fighting 10 pounds up from featherweight, which he previously said was his best weight. Karakhanyan is an interesting pick to pull off a minor upset here despite the late notice.
Best prop pick
Yoel Romero via decision +300 vs. Phil Davis
While any fight can end on a single shot, especially when someone has the level of power of Romero, both of these fighters have proven very difficult to finish. All six of Davis' pro losses and four of Romero's five have come on the scorecards. Both men can also fall into fits of passivity. That all lines up for a high probability of the fight going to a decision, especially as a three-round main event.
Romero struggles most against more aggressive, technical strikers. Davis can be technical and has good length, but he's not lethal on the feet in ways that typically trouble Romero. That sets up a situation where Romero's own aggressiveness should be enough to edge out a few rounds to take a decision and certainly a high enough probability of that result to make a play at +300.
Best parlay pick
Eddie Abasolo -220, Shane Keefe -190, Yoel Romero +105 (+355)
Start your parlays with Eddie Abasolo. He's a 0-0 pro MMA fighter, but a talented muay Thai fighter who is facing 4-4 Art Hernandez, who has not fought professionally since December 2019, lost his three most recent fights and the two most recent by knockout. Hernandez got the call to play opponent and end up on the bad end of a knockout. Keefe is facing Rhalan Gracie, who is a member of the famous Gracie family. The big red flag here is that Gracie has not fought in MMA since 2007 and has an 0-2 record as a professional. Keefe is 1-0 with a knockout in his pro debut.
Romero at +105 is the biggest risk of the three legs, but we've already covered why we like him to win and getting him as any sort of underdog boosts the odds on the overall parlay in the ways you want. There are some other safer plays you could replace him with for a lower overall payout but keep Abasolo and Keefe as your foundation.