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Yoel Romero was always viewed as a physical anomaly, and he has managed to maintain his freakish athleticism well into his 40s.
“The Soldier of God” in December announced he had signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA after spending the previous eight years as a prominent middleweight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster. Romero closed out his time with the UFC on a three-fight losing streak, having been outpointed by Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya in consecutive appearances. He plans to compete as a light heavyweight in Bellator.
As Romero awaits word on his first assignment from his new employer, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied him to this point:
43: Years of age. Romero was born on April 30, 1977 in Pinar del Rio, Cuba—a city of nearly 200,000 people on the western end of the island nation.
1: Olympic medal on his mantle. Romero struck silver in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia. He lost to Russia’s Adam Saitiev in the gold medal match.
5: Promotions in which Romero has competed as a mixed martial artist. He has gone 9-4 in the UFC, 2-0 in Fight of the Night, 1-0 in Infinite Fighting Federation, 1-0 in Superior Fighting Championship and 0-1 in Strikeforce.
11: Wins by knockout or technical knockout, accounting for 85% percent of Romero’s career total. His list of victims includes Derek Brunson, Tim Kennedy and Ronny Markes.
2: Sub-minute finishes on the Romero resume. The American Top Team standout put away Sascha Weinpolter with punches 48 seconds into their pairing on Dec. 20, 2009 and punched out Laszlo Eck just 33 seconds into their confrontation on May 27, 2011.
3: Victories over former UFC titleholders, all by knockout. Romero has beaten Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida.
8: Post-fight bonuses banked in 13 appearances under the UFC banner. Romero was awarded “Fight of the Night” five times, “Performance of the Night” twice and “Knockout of the Night” once, resulting in $400,000 of additional income.
21: Takedowns completed by Romero in the UFC. He executed multiple takedowns against five different opponents inside the Octagon, including a career-best seven of them in a unanimous decision over Brad Tavares at UFC on Fox 11 in 2014.
10: Knockdowns landed in UFC competition, placing Romero fourth on the promotion’s all-time list at 185 pounds. Only Anderson Silva (13), Nate Marquardt (12) and the aforementioned Adesanya (11) have delivered more as middleweights.
.840: Winning percentage between the four men—Adesanya, Costa, Whittaker and former Strikeforce champion Rafael Cavalcante—who have managed to defeat Romero. They own a combined record of 68-13.
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