Yoel Romero reacts to Israel Adesanya’s recent comments. ‘How many fights has Izzy had that were boring?


UFC 248’s main event continues to live on in infamy.

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya referred to his tepid victory over Yoel Romaro at February’s 2018 as his lowest moment in his MMA career. It was one of the most widely panned title fights in the modern era of the UFC, a 25-minute stalemate that saw Adesanya and Romero combine to throw less than 90 strikes in a painfully uneventful bout. It was made even worse because the fight that directly preceded it — Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk — is generally considered to be one of the greatest in MMA history.

During an appearance Wednesday on The MMA Hour, Romero was asked about Adesanya’s recent comments, in which “The Last Stylebender” also pinned much of the blame on Romero for the lackluster nature of the bout. And it’s safe to say Romero didn’t agree.

“It left a lot to be desired, but let’s get things straight,” Romero said through a translator. He called me [out],, right? He said, “OK, no one wants to confront the beast.” The beast is what I long to confront. “I want to confront the beast. I also want him to be retired.” That was when I became excited. I was like OK, this is going to be one hell of a fight. Let’s go. You want the beast? The beast will be yours. So then I go up, I get ready for the fight, I’m ready to stand in the middle of the octagon right there — and I do, I stand up in the middle of the octagon ready to brawl, ready for blood to be shed and for fans to see a true all-out war. Right?

“But what happened? He fights and feels my power. Then, all of sudden what? He runs away from me. You won’t be able to stop me from following you.

“That is not what I am going to do. The UFC was pampering him, was pampering Izzy, and basically I guess what they wanted was for me to go running after him. No, I’m not going to do that. I don’t blame him if he felt intimidated or didn’t want me to fight back. My only action was to stand tall and fight like a man. It was not something he wanted to do, but that’s up to him. It could have been .”


Romero is currently slated to fight Melvin Manhoef on Friday in the co-main event of Bellator 285, which takes place at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

As it turned out, the Adesanya bout ended up being Romero’s final appearance in the UFC. The 45-year-old Olympic silver medalist subsequently requested his UFC release and signed with Bellator MMA in 2020, where he’s gone 1-1 in his first two fights with the promotion. Most recently, Romero scored a second-round knockout win over Alex Polizzi in May.

Romero stated Wednesday that he doesn’t usually criticize intelligent or prudent game plans. He believes Adesanya tried his best to prevent a fight.

“I understand that someone may want to win smartly, but I don’t mean it wrong,” Romero stated. “If you want to get in and out, get a couple of kicks here, a couple punches there, pick your moment, that is absolutely fine. But that’s not what he did. He literally ran away whenever I felt like he was approaching me.

“There is a huge difference between being an expert fighter and picking your spots. And that’s what he was doing. And I wasn’t about to just chase him all around the octagon. It would be absurd. If he was willing to fight and stand in the ring, then that would be one thing. If he had wanted to be a smart, strategic fighter, [that would have been] another thing. He was just running all over the place. He just ran all over the place .”

Romero isn’t the first fighter to attack Adesanya for his approach in the cage. The UFC’s middleweight champion is being criticized for his approach in the cage.

Romero can’t help but notice the common thread in all of the conversations.

“Have any of you seen boring Yoel Romero fighting [aside from Adesanya]? Romero asked.

“That’s my point. You’re bunching me up with Izzy, where, if you take Izzy away, now was there a boring Yoel Romero fight? … How many fights does Izzy have that are boring? You see? Do you see? Yoel Romero isn’t to blame.