Former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho believes he’ll have some great advantages ahead of his bout against Chidi Njokuani ahead of Bellator 224, in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
In an interview with Bloody Elbow, the Brazilian pointed how both himself and Njokuani come from striking background, but gives the size and knockout power advantage to himself, due to his opponent coming from the welterweight division.
“My expectations are always the best ones possible,” Carvalho said. “I always expect the best of my opponents, so I think it’ll be a really interesting fight. I already fought fighters who have a striking background before, so it’ll be interesting. Because I’m coming from a heavier division and he’s coming from a lighter one, there might a physical disparity regarding power. I think that could be an advantage for me. In terms of speed, not so much, but I think the whole striking power thing could play in my favor.”
Currently on a two-fight losing streak, Carvalho lost the Bellator title to Gegard Mousasi via TKO in May 2018 and then dropped a split decision to former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, in a bout Rafael failed to make weight. This time around, though, he guarantees weight problems won’t hinder his performance again.
“I feel very well prepared,” Carvalho said. “I’m healthy, my cut is going as planned. I always made weight in my fights, but I had little time to cut weight in my last one. Only two days to hit the mark. Now it’s going to be easier, because I’m staying here in the United States, so I’ll be able to travel already on weight. I believe this weight cut will be much better than the other ones.”
Before his recent losses, Rafael Carvalho (15-3) was on a 15-fight winning streak, with his last victory, a KO win over Octagon vet Alessio Sakara, happening in December 2017. Now, the Brazilian is expected to take on Chidi Njokuani at Bellator 224’s co-main event, on July 12, in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The card will be headlined by a female featherweight title fight between the champion, Julia Budd, and challenger Olga Rubin.