Yoel Romero

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Yoel Romero
Yoel Romero.jpg
Romero in Dagestan
Born Yoel Romero Palacio
(1977-04-30) April 30, 1977 (age 37)
Pinar del Río, Cuba
Other names Soldier of God
Residence Miami, Florida, United States
Nationality Cuban[1]
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[2]
Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
Division Light heavyweight
Reach 75.0 in (191 cm)[3]
Style Wrestling
Fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida, United States
Team American Top Team
Wrestling Olympic Freestyle Wrestling
Years active 2009-present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 10
Wins 9
By knockout 8
By decision 1
Losses 1
By knockout 1
Notable relatives Yoan Pablo Hernández, brother[4]
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Yoel Romero
Medal record
Competitor for  Cuba
Men's Freestyle Wrestling
Olympic Games
Silver 2000 Sydney 85 kg
World Championships
Gold 1999 Ankara 85 kg
Silver 2002 Tehran 84 kg
Silver 2005 Budapest 84 kg
Bronze 1998 Tehran 85 kg
Bronze 2001 Krasnoyarsk 85 kg
Pan American Games
Gold 2003 Santo Domingo 85 kg
Bronze 1999 Winnipeg 85 kg

Yoel Romero Palacio (born April 30, 1977) is a Cuban mixed martial artist (MMA) and former World Champion and Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling. He competes in the middleweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and formerly competed in the now-defunct Strikeforce organization. Romero is #6 in the official UFC middleweight rankings.[5]

Wrestling career[edit]

Romero competed in both the 2000 Summer Olympics and the 2004 Summer Olympics, representing his home nation of Cuba. He won the silver medal in the 2000 freestyle competition, losing to Adam Saitiev in the finals.[6] He finished in 4th place in 2004. While competing in freestyle wrestling, Romero defeated 2004 Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson on two separate occasions.

He also represented Cuba at the senior level in the FILA Wrestling World Championships, which is held in non-Olympic years, from 1997-2005. At the 1999 World Wrestling Championships Romero became world champ by defeating the 1996 Olympic gold medalist, Khadzhimurad Magomedov of Russia. He controversially missed out on becoming world champ again in 2002. After landing a 3 point throw against Adam Saitiev to take a 3-2 lead, Romero was penalized a point for passivity with 20 seconds remaining. In overtime after a scramble saw Romero end on top, it was judged Saitiev had scored in the interim.

Romero medaled in 5 total world championships, only missing out with his 5th place finish in 1997, and 6th place finish in 2003. Other notable achievements include a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games, a quadrennial competition held the year before the Olympics, as well as multiple 1st place finishes at the FILA Wrestling World Cup. Romero competed sparingly after 2005, and shortly after winning the Grand Prix of Germany in the summer of 2007, he relocated to Germany and began to pursue a career in MMA.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

After defecting in 2007 to Germany,[7] Romero made his professional mixed martial arts debut in December 2009. Over the next two years, he amassed an undefeated record of 4-0 in various promotions throughout Germany and Poland.

He won his debut via TKO against Sascha Weinpolter. He then took on Polish standout Michał Fijałka in his second bout.[8] After a dominating performance, Yoel won in the third round via TKO, which was at first ruled a controversial disqualification, due to a knee on the ground thrown by Romero. In 2011, he won his next two fights via TKO in the first round.


Romero signed with Strikeforce in July 2011 and made his promotional debut against Rafael Cavalcante on September 10, 2011 at Strikeforce 36.[9] He lost the fight via KO in the second round. A neck injury kept him out of action until 2013.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Romero made his UFC and middleweight debut against Clifford Starks on April 20, 2013 at UFC on Fox 7.[10] He won the fight via KO in the first round. The win also earned him Knockout of the Night honors.[11]

Romero was expected to face Derek Brunson on August 31, 2013 at UFC 164.[12] However, Brunson suffered an injury and pulled out of the bout. Promotional newcomer Brian Houston was briefly linked as a replacement, however Houston was not medically cleared to compete at the event and the bout was cancelled.[13]

In his second UFC bout, Romero faced Ronny Markes on November 6, 2013 at UFC Fight Night 31.[14] He won the fight via knockout in the third round.

For his third fight, Romero was again set to face Derek Brunson on January 15, 2014 at UFC Fight Night 35.[15] After trailing for two rounds, Romero won the fight in the third via TKO due to punches that dropped Brunson and subsequent elbows to the body. Both fighters earned a $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus award.[16]

In his fourth fight, Romero faced Brad Tavares at UFC on Fox 11.[17] He won the fight via unanimous decision.

Romero faced Tim Kennedy on September 27, 2014 at UFC 178.[18] He won the fight via TKO in the third round, giving Kennedy his first stoppage loss in thirteen years. Romero was saved by the bell when he got visibly stunned and nearly finished in the final seconds of the second round. There was controversy when Romero initially failed to answer the bell for the third round and received extra time to recover.[19] The win also earned Romero his second Fight of the Night bonus award.[20]

Romero is expected to face Ronaldo Souza on February 28, 2015 at UFC 184.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Physique Magazine describes Romero as a "Jewish Cuban"[22] while Romero describes himself as "a man of God" whose hero is Jesus Christ.[23][24][25] His younger brother, Yoan Pablo Hernández, is a Cruiserweight Champion in professional boxing.[26]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 9–1 Tim Kennedy TKO (punches) UFC 178 September 27, 2014 3 0:38 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 8–1 Brad Tavares Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox: Werdum vs. Browne April 19, 2014 3 5:00 Orlando, Florida, United States
Win 7–1 Derek Brunson TKO (punches & elbows) UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou January 15, 2014 3 3:23 Duluth, Georgia, United States Fight of the Night.
Win 6–1 Ronny Markes KO (punches) UFC: Fight for the Troops 3 November 6, 2013 3 1:39 Fort Campbell, Kentucky, United States
Win 5–1 Clifford Starks KO (flying knee & punches) UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Melendez April 20, 2013 1 1:32 San Jose, California, United States Middleweight debut; Knockout of the Night.
Loss 4–1 Rafael Cavalcante KO (punches & knee) Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov September 10, 2011 2 4:51 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Win 4–0 Laszlo Eck KO (punch) Fight of the Night 2011 May 27, 2011 1 0:33 Greding, Germany
Win 3–0 Nikita Petrovs TKO (retirement) SFC 3: MMA Fight Night March 5, 2011 1 2:58 Giessen, Germany
Win 2–0 Michał Fijałka TKO (retirement) IFF: The Eternal Struggle October 8, 2010 3 4:05 Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland
Win 1–0 Sascha Weinpolter TKO (punches) Fight of the Night 2009 December 20, 2009 1 0:48 Nuremberg, Germany


  1. ^ "Light-heavyweight prospect Yoel Romero inks new Strikeforce deal". MMAjunkie. 
  2. ^ http://m.sherdog.com/fighter/Yoel-Romero-60762
  3. ^ "Fight Card - UFC Fight Night Werdum vs. Browne". UFC.com. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ Mike Chiappetta (2011-07-27). "Former Olympian Yoel Romero signs with Strikeforce, will face Feijão in debut". MMAfighting.com. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  5. ^ "UFC Fighter Rankings". 
  6. ^ http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ro/yoel-romero-1.html Sports References
  7. ^ "Die Wochen der Wahrheit – Doppelkampftag steht an" (in German). www.ringen.de. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Yoel Romero Palacio vs. Michał Fijałka". groundandpound.de. October 5, 2010.  (in German)
  9. ^ "Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante vs. Yoel Romero slotted for September 10 Strikeforce event". mmajunkie.com. 2011-07-21. 
  10. ^ "Yoel Romero vs Clifford Starks set for UFC on FOX 7". bloodyelbow.com. January 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ Staff (2013-04-20). "UFC on FOX 7 bonuses: Brown, Mein, Romero, Thomson earn $50,000". MMAjunkie.com. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  12. ^ Staff (2013-06-17). "UFC 164 Gains Derek Brunson vs. Yoel Romero". mmaweekly.com. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 
  13. ^ Staff (2013-08-14). "UFC 164 loses Yoel Romero vs. Brian Houston, card finalized with 12 bouts". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  14. ^ Jamie Penick (2013-08-23). "UFC Fight for the Troops card adds Yoel Romero vs. Ronny Markes". mmatorch.com. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  15. ^ Staff (2013-11-26). "UFC Fight Night 35 adds Yoel Romero vs. Derek Brunson". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  16. ^ ""UFC Fight Night 35 Bonuses: Rockhold, Miller, Romero, Brunson Earn $50K Awards", by Mike Whitman, Sherdog.com". Sherdog. 
  17. ^ UFC News (2014-02-04). "#UFCFightNight in Orlando bout update! @bambamhealy vs @GamebredFighter and @BradTavares vs @YoelRomeroMMA. Tix on sale next Friday.". UFC. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  18. ^ Zane Simon (2014-07-08). "Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero slated for UFC 178 in Las Vegas". bloodyelbow.com. Retrieved 2014-07-08. 
  19. ^ Marc Raimondi and Damon Martin (2014-09-28). "Stoolgate: Tim Kennedy irate about controversial loss to Yoel Romero". foxsports.com. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  20. ^ Matt Erickson (2014-09-28). "UFC 178 bonuses: McGregor, Cruz, Romero, Kennedy earn $50,000". mmajunkie.com. Retrieved 2014-09-28. 
  21. ^ Brian Martin (2014-11-13). "UFC 184: Jacare Souza vs. Yoel Romero added to Staples Center card". dailynews.com. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  22. ^ http://www.physique-mag.com/emag/july/files/assets/basic-html/page92.html
  23. ^ "Yoel Romero Interview". Fight Geeks. 
  24. ^ "UFC Fight Night 35's Yoel Romero: By the Grace of God". The MMA Corner. 
  25. ^ "New UFC Fighter a Knockout". 
  26. ^ Trey Downey. "UFC's Yoel Romero: Ready For Next Step at Middleweight". The MMA Corner. 

External links[edit]