Yoel Romero is looking for a quick turnaround after his UFC 248 fight against Israel Adesanya.
Although Romero was on a two-fight losing streak, he got the title shot due to Paulo Costa being injured. Yet, after the lackluster scrap, UFC president Dana White said he wishes he never booked the fight and waited for Costa to be healthy.
According to his manager, Ibrahim Kawa, Yoel Romero’s gameplan was to be patient and counter Adesanya. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for him.
“In his mind, he was pushing [the action],” Kawa said to MMA Fighting. “Not the first two rounds – he was very patient. The game plan was to be patient, because as we saw, Izzy doesn’t know what to do coming forward. He’s a guy that waits for you to come in, and he makes all his moves based on you.
“When he did try to push the action, it was very hard for him. Yoel would have had to shoot from so far from the opposite side of the cage to get into range, which he did,” he added. “He power-doubled him all the way to the cage, he wrecked him and then let him up so he could finish with a flurry.
“He figured the more I show judges that I’m hitting him, the better. Rather than the takedown and trying to hold him down, and if Izzy gets up, it’s going to look negative on him. So why not power-double him, let him up, and hit him with some shots? All credit to Izzy. He was able to weather the storm and move out of the way as he did pretty much the whole fight.”
Following the loss, many said that would be the last time Yoel Romero fights for a UFC title. But, for Kawa, he disagrees and says his client is a gatekeeper, for now, will be fighting for gold again soon.
“We can label Yoel as a gatekeeper at this point,” he explained. “But if he knocks out three guys in devastating fashion, everyone’s going to be saying Yoel’s the best middleweight, and he needs another title shot. If guys can’t beat Yoel, then eventually, the only guy left is Yoel.”
In the end, Kawa says they expect Yoel Romero to be back in 12 weeks. He will do so at middleweight as well. For them, they say light heavyweight makes no sense.
“Everybody questions his weight; this is the second time he’s made championship weight without issue,” he concluded. “The idea of him moving up just doesn’t make a lot of sense. He’s made weight all but two times in his life, so I think he gets a pass on that now.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/10/2020.