Bellator 230 takes place in Milan which will be the promotion’s first ever visit to the Italian city this Saturday night. Three different cards will feature at the Allianz Cloud, including the return of Bellator Kickboxing, which all showcase notable European fighters on the roster as well as names familiar with the international audience. The opportunity is also there for athletes who aren’t as well known to make the step up and aim to capture some headlines on Sunday morning. One of those fighters is heavyweight, Domingos Barros, who looks to keep his unbeaten streak alive when he faces the Russian, Kirill Sidelnikov, on the Bellator 230 main card.
Barros (6-0) was born in the African island country, Cape Verde, which is a very poor part of the world. He faced many difficulties while growing up there and his life was really turbulent as he never knew what was guaranteed each day. Life was a real struggle for him and his family so he set out to try and improve their situation in search of a better future. At the age of 17, he moved to Portugal which is where he still resides today. Barros hasn’t forgot his roots though and he regularly goes back to Cape Verde in order to support those who are in the position he used to be in. He has an ongoing project back there set up through his Domingos Barros Foundation which aims to help his people lead better lives. Finding MMA has partially helped him to do this and is a sport he discovered after moving to Portugal.
“I first got into mixed martial arts as a bit of a joke!” said Barros. “While I was working in private security, I was invited to go along to a local gym and begin training so I thought I’d give it a try without knowing much about the sport. However, as soon as I went along to my first few sessions, I fell in love with MMA and haven’t looked back since.”
The heavyweight made his professional debut in Portugal during 2014, defeating his opponent by second round TKO. Barros wasn’t very active during the earlier years of his career as he only competed five times in three and a half years but his consistent, victorious performances were rewarded last December. Bellator gave him the opportunity to face off against glorified kickboxer, Hesdy Gerges, in both of their Bellator MMA debuts which also happened to take place in Italy. Barros secured an early takedown and progressed from half guard to the crucifix position. From there he advanced to mount and took advantage of his opponent’s inexperience on the ground to rain down heavy punches until the fight was waved off. That bout went exactly how Barros intended it to go who was also pleased that he made an instant impact in the promotion.
“My plan was always to take that fight to the ground because we knew Gerges was quite dangerous standing up,” explained Barros. “It meant a lot for me to pick up a victory in that contest and shows that I am on the right track. I managed to overcome a very experienced athlete and a great fighter.”
Next up for Barros on Saturday night is the Russian, Kirill Sidelnikov (11-6), who had an unsuccessful Bellator debut at the end of last year. The 31-year-old is well travelled after fighting for a number of different promotions around the world including M-1, Rizin and EFN. However, Sidelnikov has been stopped in five of his six losses due to T/KO while Barros has finished four of his six victories by knockout. This could indicate a clear path to victory for the Cape Verdian but he is prepared for wherever the fight ends up.
“Sidelnikov is a good opponent and has decent striking skills,” commented Barros. “I think it will be a great fight and it will play out in its own way. Whether it be standing or on the floor, I am prepared to finish this fight.”
Bellator 230: Carvalho v Nemkov will air via tape delay on Sky Sports Mix at 2am BST early on Sunday morning for fans in the UK and Ireland. Paramount Network and DAZN will also show the event on tape delay in the US at 9pmET/8c.