— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) December 10, 2017
While the combat sports world was largely preoccupied with the UFC’s debut in Fresno, California, and Vasyl Lomachenko’s beautiful defeat of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Bellator MMA also promoted a fantastic show last night. This card, titled Bellator 190, went down in beautiful Florence, Italy, and was headlined by a middleweight title bout between champ Rafael Carvalho and challenger Alessio Sakara.
This main event battle was a blowout for Rafael Carvalho, who nearly decapitated Alessio Sakara with a slicing, first-round elbow, silencing thousands of Sakara’s Italian countrymen in the process. See Carvalho’s blitzkrieg win over the UFC veteran Sakara in the video at the top of this article.
With this win, Rafael Carvalho moves to a fantastic 15-1 overall. Now on a 15-fight streak, he has not lost since his first pro bout, which occurred back in January of 2011.
Since joining the Bellator roster in September of 2014, the Brazilian has gone 6-0, first defeating Brian Rogers and Joe Schilling, then Brandon Halsey to win the middleweight title, and finally, Melvin Manhoef (twice) and Sakara to retain that title. Though he doesn’t get the acclaim he deserves, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that he is one of the most dangerous middleweights on earth.
Sakara, meanwhile, has a three-fight streak snapped by this emphatic loss. This streak was composed of a TKO of Dib Akil, and ferocious knockouts of Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran in his first two fights in the Bellator cage. Though he clearly still possesses some truly destructive punching power, his ability to take punishment has clearly dissipated. While there are still some interesting opportunities for him in the Bellator cage, it’s more than likely that the 38-year-old striker is nearing the end of his exciting fighting career.
How long do you think Rafael Carvalho will hang onto the Bellator middleweight belt?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/12/2017.