Lyoto Machida has a date and opponent set for his Bellator debut.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion will meet ex-Bellator middleweight titleholder Rafael Carvalho at Bellator’s Hawaii debut on Dec. 15, multiple sources confirmed to MMA Fighting following a report by ESPN.
The fight card takes place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
Machida (24-8) parted ways with the UFC on a two-fight winning streak, defeating Eryk Anders via decision in February and scoring a stunning front kick knockout over Vitor Belfort in May. He also holds a victory over current Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi.
Carvalho (15-2) had his 15-fight winning streak snapped by Mousasi in May, losing the 185-pound belt in the process. The Curitiba-based fighter was 6-0 under the Bellator banner prior to the first TKO defeat of his MMA career.
Speaking with MMA Fighting in July, Carvalho volunteered to welcome Machida to the Bellator cage.
”He’s a counter striker, but it’s a double-edged sword because I’m also a counter striker,” Carvalho said. “It would be an interesting fight and anything could happen. Like Mike Tyson once said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Bellator’s first trip to Hawaii will be headlined by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending her flyweight championship against Valerie Letourneau. Ed Ruth vs. Neiman Gracie is also set for the event.