Best Bellator 297 Main Event and Co-Main Event Bets: Nemkov vs. Romero Picks

  • What: Bellator 297
  • Main Event: Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero
  • Co-Main Event: Sergio Pettis vs. Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire
  • Date: Friday, June 16, 2023
  • Location: Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL
  • Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
  • How to Watch: Showtime

Bellator returns to Chicago for the first time since November 2022 for Friday’s Bellator 297 fight card. In the main event, Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov faces Yoel Romero, while in the evening’s co-main event, Bellator bantamweight champ Sergio Pettis puts his title on the line against Bellator Featherweight titleholder Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Here is some background on the headlining fighters before we discuss the betting breakdown for Bellator 297.

Nemkov is one of, if not the top light heavyweight in MMA. He is 16-2-0-1 and unbeaten in his 11 fights. He has three title defenses heading into Bellator 297. Romero, a former UFC middleweight title challenger, is the No. 3 fighter in the Bellator light heavyweight rankings. He has a career record of 15-6 and is riding a two-fight winning streak.

Pettis is 22-5, and on a five-fight winning streak heading into his second Bellator bantamweight title defense. Freire has a 35-5 career mark. The Bellator 145-pound champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion looks to become the first Bellator fighter to claim titles in three weight divisions. In addition to his featherweight belt, Freire won the lightweight title in 2019 before vacating that belt in 2021.

Before we look at the best bets for the main event  and co-main event of the Bellator 297 card, check out our guide on MMA betting and where you can find the best MMA betting apps.

Bellator 297 main event: Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero betting picks

To Win Bellator 297 Main EventBetOnline ReviewBovadaBetUS ReviewMyBookie Review
Yoel Romero+275+295+245+238
Vadim Nemkov-325-425-325-384

Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero betting breakdown

Vadim Nemkov joined Bellator in 2017. A protege of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, the 30-year-old former Combat Sambo world champion is 8-0-0-1 with three knockouts, and two submission wins under the promotion’s banner. He won the light heavyweight crown in 2020 with a knockout of Ryan Bader and has defended the title against Phil Davis, Julius Anglickas, and Corey Anderson. A dangerous fighter anywhere inside the cage, many consider Nemkov the current best fighter in all of MMA at 205 pounds. He is coming off a November decision win over Corey Anderson.

Yoel Romero has not fought since he knocked out Melvin Manhoef in September. The 46-year-old world-champion freestyle wrestler is 2-1 in Bellator, with his only loss being a split decision to Phil Davis in 2021. One of the most powerful fighters in MMA, this might be the last opportunity for Romero to claim a major MMA title.

Nemkov needs to stay away from the power of Romero. He has the leg kicks and striking skills to keep the fight at distance. His takedown defense will also help him if Romero tries to get the fight to the mat. Nemkov also has the athleticism to put Romero on his back foot and keep him there. Romero has a tendency to look to explode and swarm his opponent, Nemkov will be ready for that, and his sound defense will keep Romero from connecting with his knockout power.

Vadim NemkovTO BEAT YOEL ROMERO
★★★★★
-325
Bet now

Bellator 297 co-main event: Sergio Pettis vs. Patricio Pitbull betting picks

To Win Bellator 297 Co-Main EventBetOnline ReviewBovadaBetUS ReviewMyBookie Review
Sergio Pettis+200+145+190+161
Patricio Pitbull-235-190-240-238

Sergio Pettis vs. Patricio Pitbull betting breakdown

Sergio Pettis deserves some credit for accepting this fight. The Bellator bantamweight champion has been on the shelf since December 2021 after an injury prevented him from taking part in the Bellator bantamweight Grand Prix. His opponent at Bellator 297 is the most accomplished and decorated fighter in the history of the promotion. A three-time Bellator featherweight champion, and a former promotional lightweight champ, Pitbull is dropping to 135 pounds for the first time in his career.

Pettis nearly lost the Bellator bantamweight title in his first defense. He had lost the first three rounds of his fight opposite Kyoji Horiguchi before scoring a comeback-of-the-year knockout in the fourth round of that contest. He captured the 135-pound crown in May 2021 with a decision win over Juan Archuleta. Pitbull has one loss since 2017, a July 2021 technical submission defeat to A.J. McKee. He avenged that setback in the rematch, beating McKee by decision in April 2022. He has two victories since that outing and last fought on New Year’s Eve in 2022.

Pettis is a sound fighter, but he is not as skilled as Pitbull, who is the best fighter to ever compete under the Bellator banner. The only thing that might affect Pitbull in this fight is the weight cut. However, I don’t believe he, his team, or Bellator would have allowed him to accept this high-profile fight without being confident that he would make weight for Bellator 297.

Patricio Pitbull TO BEAT Sergio Pettis
★★★★★
-190
Bet now

Best Bellator 297 bets

The best betting pick for the Bellator 297 main event is for Vadim Nemkov to defeat Yoel Romero via decision. There is some value in betting on Romero to score an upset knockout, but that is a longshot betting pick for the light heavyweight title fight.

As for the co-main event, Sergio Pettis is a live underdog betting pick for Bellator 297, but that’s mostly based on the fact that no one knows how Patricio Pitbull will look at 135 pounds. I believe Pitbull will be fine, and with that, the best bet for the Bellator 297 co-main event is to pick Patricio Pitbull to win via decision.

Best Bellator main event betting pick: Vadim Nemkov to beat Yoel Romero via decision

Vadim NemkovTO BEAT YOEL ROMERO
★★★★★
-325
Bet now

Best Bellator co-main event betting pick: Patricio Pitbull to beat Sergio Pettis via decision

Patricio Pitbull TO BEAT Sergio Pettis
★★★★☆
-238
Bet now

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent is a professional sports journalist specializing in UFC, MMA, and esports coverage. His work has been featured in prestigious publications such as USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively. Trent's connection to MMA dates back to the early days when he and his friends pooled their resources to purchase the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 1. He also has extensive experience in esports, particularly League of Legends and Counter Strike, dating back to the game's launch.