Rafael Carvalho put his middleweight strap on the line against Melvin Manhoef in the Bellator 155 main event on Friday night at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Carvalho hadn’t lost since the first fight of his professional career, and this was the first defense of his title.
Carvalho and Manhoef spent much of the first round at distance, throwing a few exploratory strikes, but neither mounted any significant offense.
Manhoef finally started his typical head hunting in round two, landing a hard punch and head kick early in the frame. Carvalho appeared to have little to offer in response. Realizing this, Manhoef landed a thundering kick to the midsection that shuddered Carvalho, but didn’t send him down. Manhoef backed off for the next couple minutes, but finally landed a few hard shots with about a minute left in the round.
As the round wore down, Carvalho landed a knee to the groin. Referee John McCarthy yelled to stop, but Carvalho landed a hard elbow to the head before McCarthy could step in and separate them, which drew a warning for fighting after he was told to stop. It didn’t appear to faze Manhoef, as he landed another high kick before the close of the round.
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Manhoef started fast in round three, but quickly took a poke to the eye. Shortly after restarting, Carvalho landed another eye poke, garnering a last warning from McCarthy.
Carvalho clinched, but Manhoef tossed him away and landed a couple hard left hands. Carvalho, however, regained his clinch and took Manhoef down, but couldn’t keep him there. Returning to their ….View full article