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Rafael Carvalho surprised by his quick rise to top in Bellator

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Rafael Carvalho needed a pair of wins in Bellator to earn a shot at the middleweight title, and he’s surprised how quick he got to the top of the division.

The 29-year-old Brazilian signed with Bellator in 2014 after winning nine straight with eight TKO finishes in Brazil, and took only three minutes to stop veteran Brian Rogers in his promotional debut. Carvalho then returned against kickboxing sensation Joe Shilling in April, improving to 11-1 with a split decision win and earning a shot at the middleweight title against Brandon Halsey at Friday’s Bellator 144.

“To be honest with you, it was a bit too fast,” Carvalho told MMAFighting.com. “I entered Bellator as an underdog, there were some other fighters ahead of me. Nobody knew me, and I showed my work, showed what I can do. My first fights were co-main events, and I was kind of surprised by that too. I expected to fight one more fight before getting a title shot next year, so I was surprised when I heard I would be fighting for the title.”

Brandon Halsey got stripped of his 185-pound title after missing weight before his first title defense in May. He will ….View original article