In the main event, Vadim Nemkov defends the Bellator light heavyweight championship against Yoel Romero. This bout had originally been scheduled to take place at Bellator 290 in February before it was scrapped by a Nemkov withdrawal.
After claiming the light heavyweight title with a finish of Ryan Bader at Bellator 244 in 2020, Nemkov retained the title throughout the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix, with wins over Phil Davis, Julius Anglickas and Corey Anderson en route to winning the $1 million tournament.
With the successful title defense against Anderson, Nemkov became the first light heavyweight champion in Bellator history to defend the championship three times, a record he'll look to extend tonight.
Despite losing his Bellator debut to Davis via split decision, Romero enters this fight off back-to-back finishes of Alex Polizzi and Melvin Manhoef last year.
The co-main event has more stakes to it, as it'll be champion vs. champion when Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis returns to the cage to defend his title against Bellator featherweight champion and longtime face of the promotion Patricio "Pitbull" Freire.
With a win, Freire will become the first fighter in Bellator history to win world championships in three different weight classes in any major MMA promotion — let alone in Bellator. He will also become the first fighter in Bellator history to become a "champ-champ" twice, having previously holding the Bellator featherweight and lightweight titles simultaneously for a time.
Freire has won 10 of his last 11 fights, most recently competing at the inaugural Bellator vs. RIZIN event on New Year's Eve, defeating Kleber Koike Erbst in a non-title bout.
This will mark Pettis's first fight since his incredible comeback, fourth-round knockout of Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272 in December 2021. Pettis was scheduled to take part in the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix but was forced out with injury.
The winner will also be slated to meet Patchy Mix, winner of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix and interim Bellator bantamweight champion, in the future.
This story will be updated live throughout the night.
Bellator 297 live results [UPDATED]
Bellator 297: Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero Main Card (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
(c) Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero — for the Bellator light heavyweight championship
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Vadim Nemkov defeated Yoel Romero via unanimous decision (49-46 x3) - to retain the Bellator light heavyweight championship
(c) Sergio Pettis vs. Patricio Pitbull - for the Bellator bantamweight championship
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Sergio Pettis defeated Patricio Pitbull via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) to retain his Bellator bantamweight title
Corey Anderson vs. Phil Davis
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Corey Anderson defeated Phil Davis via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Daniel James vs. Gokhan Saricam
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Gokhan Saricam defeated Daniel James via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Bellator 297: Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero Preliminary Card (YouTube/Pluto TV, 6 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Gadzhi Rabadanov vs. Pieter Buist
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Gadzhi Rabadanov def. Pieter Buist via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jaleel Willis vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Ramazan Kuramagomedov def. Jaleel Willis via knockout (knee, punches) – Round 1, 1:24
Norbert Novenyi Jr. vs. Kamil Oniszczuk
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Norbert Novenyi Jr. defeated Kamil Oniszczuk via KO, Round 1, 0:46.
Archie Colgan vs. Emmanuel Sanchez
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Archie Colgan defeated Emmanuel Sanchez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Jordan Newman vs. Matthew Perry
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Jordan Newman def. Matthew Perry via submission (Americana) – Round 1, 4:20
Cody Law vs. Edwin Chavez
OFFICIAL RESULTS: Cody Law defeated Edwin Chavez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Timur Khizriev vs. Richie Smullen
Mike Hamel vs. Shamil Nikaev
Kyle Crutchmer vs. Bobby Nash
Karl Moore vs. Alex Polizzi
Wladmir Gouvea vs. Gabriel Sayeg
Bellator 297: Vadim Nemkov vs. Yoel Romero takes place on Friday, June 16, 2023, live from Wintrust Arean in Chicago, IL. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.