Rafael Carvalho made Bas Rutten proud on Friday night. The underdog Brazilian melted former champion Brandon Halsey with a beautiful second-round liver kick to complete a stunning comeback and seize the vacant Bellator middleweight title in the main event of Bellator 144.
It was a spectacular turnaround for Carvalho (12-1), who was otherwise being dominated in the contest by the much larger Halsey (9-1). The American vacated his title in May after missing weight by eight pounds, but looked strong in the bout’s opening minutes, shooting for a quick double leg, then advancing into mount and locking up a nasty arm triangle that almost put Carvalho out.
Carvalho toughed it out and escaped, but still continued to be controlled by Halsey’s pressure until landing his only clear strike of the night: a magnificent kick to the liver that instantly downed the wrestler. Carvalho rushed Halsey with follow-up punches, bringing an end to the contest at 1:42 of the second round and pushing his undefeated Bellator record to 3-0.
“I believed all the time,” an elated Carvalho said afterward through a translator. “I believed in my training. I believed in everything for this fight. Thank you everybody in Brazil.”
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Source:: mma fighting