This Saturday night, Italy is about to be rocked. Bellator 176 takes place in Torino. The prelims will be kickboxing bouts while the main card will be MMA. The most anticipated fight is the main event between Middleweight Champion Rafael Carvalho against Melvin Manhoef for the Middleweight belt.
Both men faced off in May of last year at Bellator 155 also in the main event for the belt, what was also the first title defense for Carvalho since upsetting Brandon Halsey at Bellator 144.
Sadly the first fight was a disaster. The bout was officiated by veteran referee “Big” John McCarthy. In round 1, both fighters were told to pick up the pace. Round 2, Carvalho jumped in with a knee to the balls of Manhoef and a standing elbow before McCarthy could give Manhoef time to recover. Carvalho played innocent and was not deducted any points. In round 3, Carvalho hit Manhoef with an open hand and an eye poke, still no point deduction, then later in the round poked his eye again and later another knee to the balls.
The fight went to decision with one judge giving the fight to Manhoef and the other 2 judges giving it to Carvalho; it was a sad day for MMA, and a performance that nobody wants to see again, considering Carvalho is 15 – 1 – 0 and is a KO artist. It’s a shame to see this kind of fight.
I can pretty much guarantee the champion will be booed on his way to the cage. His opponent Manhoef is also a KO artist and holds the record for most victories in MMA by KO. Plus, he comes from the Dutch background in kickboxing. Manhoef will want revenge for what happened last time and Carvalho will want to prove he is a worthy champion.