Bellator 266 results, highlights: Phil Davis spoils Yoel Romero's promotional debut with decision win

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Bellator MMA

For all of the talk about potential fireworks that could come from Yoel Romero's Bellator MMA debut, Phil Davis simply did what he does best on Saturday.

Davis (23-6, 1 NC), a former 205-pound champion, controlled distance and deftly managed the danger of Romero's power by securing five unanswered takedowns en route to a split-decision victory inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

Despite the close scoring in the Bellator 266 main event, which saw one judge inexplicably score it 29-28 for Romero, this was a tense fight early that Davis clearly dominated late. The 36-year-old took home scorecards in his favor of 30-27 and 30-26 to bounce back from a close decision defeat to defending champion Vadim Nemkov in their April rematch, which knocked Davis out of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix.

Romero (13-6), the 44-year-old ageless wonder, snapped an 18-month layoff in his first fight at light heavyweight since 2011. But the former three-time UFC middleweight title challenger was frustratingly passive offensively and appeared to openly admit after the fight in a fit of frustration that he was unaware it contracted for three rounds as opposed to five.

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"Man, he's a monster," Davis said. "I felt that power more times than I wished I had tonight. He's an incredibly powerful fighter."

Romero missed wildly throughout with big counterstriking attempts but maintained strong defense and the threat of his power through a series of feints that kept the tension high for Davis even though the fans began booing the fight's lack of action by the end of the opening frame.

Davis made sure to pump his jab throughout as the aggressor and remained so despite largely coming up short on right hand attempts. After a dull first round, Davis pushed the pace in Round 2 despite getting wobbled by a hard leg kick. He scored a late takedown to secure the round on two of the judges' scorecards.

The final round was all Davis, all the time. He recorded four more takedowns and was active from top guard with elbows, punches and knees to the ribs against a suddenly exhausted Romero.

"I felt [Romero fading] and it didn't quite give me enough security," Davis said. "I felt at the end of the second round that he was slowing down just a tad bit.

"You got to use the wrestling. God bless wrestling, best sport in the world."

Romero tasted defeat for the fifth time in his last six fights. Unlike his previous three, however, there would be very little debate on the scorecards that he had seemingly done enough to win.

Elsewhere on the card, Neiman Gracie made a thunderous return to the win column with a TKO victory over Mark Lemminger in the co-main event. It was Gracie's first TKO win of his burgeoning career after nine of his first 10 came by submission. Plus, Ben Parrish shocked the world with a first-round TKO of Christian Edwards to open the main card. Parrish entered the bout as a massive underdog and stopped the rising prospect in under a minute of fight time.

CBS Sports was with you throughout the evening for the latest updates, highlights and results from the SAP Center in San Jose, California, with our live blog below. Stay tuned for updates all night long.

Bellator 266 card, results

  • Phil Davis def. Yoel Romero via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-26)
  • Neiman Gracie def. Mark Lemminger via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Deanna Bennett def. Alejandra Lara via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Saul Rogers def. Georgi Karakhanyan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Ben Parrish def. Christian Edwards via first-round knockout (punch)
  • Alex Polizzi def. Grant Neal via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Anthony Adams def. Khalid Murtazaliev via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Bobby Seronio III def. Socrates Hernandez via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-26, 29-26)
  • Abraham Vaesau def. Albert Gonzales via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Shane Keefe def. Rhalan Gracie via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Edwin de los Santos def. Jon Adams via first-round TKO (strikes)
  • Jesse Delgado def. Joshua Dillon via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
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Scorecards: 30-27 Davis, 29-28 Romero and 30-26 Davis. It's a split-decision and should've been unanimous for Davis. Romero acted after as if he wasn't aware this was a three-round fight and not five. 

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The crowd boos the two fighters after the horn. 

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R3: Big knee strikes to the ribs from Davis as Romero is stuck on all fours. Romero stands up again but he can't get free from the cage wall. They go the distance. 

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R3: Big punches from Davis after he struck Romero to the body to open up his guard. Romero stands but he is exhausted and Davis drags him down again. 

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R3: Romero gets taken down along the cage again. 

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R3: Davis works knees to the body from the top. Romero is not in a good place here but he reverses to get to his feet. 

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R3: Short elbows for Davis hit from side position. He is cementing this fight in his favor even though the crowd is booing. 

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R3: Romero works to his feet and Davis takes him down for a third time this round. 

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ROUND 3: Davis stays busy with the jab, even if Romero's defense is making him mostly miss. Another takedown hits for Davis and he briefly took full mount. Romero stands up but Davis takes him down again. Romero applies a guillotine with his back to the cage.

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R2: Give the round to Davis for his activity, a big right hand late and the clean takedown. 10-9. 

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R2: Davis misses a big right and Romero comes up short on a counter left. The sequence opens up a clean takedown for Davis. He takes top position in the closing seconds. 

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R2: Good combo from Davis with kicks and a right cross. 

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R2: Another inside low kick from Romero. Big overhand right from Davis brings a reaction out of Romero. 

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R2: Hard leg kick from Romero causes Davis to stumble. That was a big one. 

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R2: Romero missing wild counter attempts now. Overhand right hits for Davis. This is a pace and distance he can win with. 

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R2: Davis continues to miss with his right hands. He's mixing in enough jabs though to likely be ahead on the scorecards halfway through the round. Romero is completely defensive and only trying to counter big. 

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R2: Good defense from both on punch attempts. A frustrated Davis shoots but Romero drops down to stuff it. 

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R2: Davis much more busy as he hits a right hand to the body. A counter left hand from Romero partially caught Davis. 

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ROUND 2: Left hook to the body for Davis. He just barely missed a two-punch combo that Romero caught on his gloves. 

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R1: Give a slow opening frame to Davis for pushing the pace, 10-9. 

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R1: They exchange leg kicks. Nice jab from Davis splits the high guard. He comes back with a thigh kick. Romero misses a sloppy front kick. 

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R1: So many feints from Romero but barely any striking. High head kick misses for Romero. That was close. 

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R1: Davis pumps his jab but keeps coming up empty on his right hand attempts. Romero isn't giving him much of a target. Nice leg kick from Romero, which forced Davis to recalibrate his balance.

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R1: Romero barely misses an explosive front kick attempt. That would've ended the night. 

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R1: Running thigh kick for Romero. A follow up kick is checked by Davis. 

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