Back in May of 2016, Brazil’s Rafael Carvalho scored a controversial split decision win over Dutch kickboxing specialist Melvin Manhoef, defending the Bellator middleweight strap in the process. Given that many fans and pundits believed Manhoef should have gotten the nod in this fight, Bellator then pencilled the two middleweights in for a rematch – though this rematch occurred a little later than planned.
On Saturday night, Carvalho and Manhoef’s rematch finally went down. The fight served as the main event of Bellator 176, which occurred in beautiful Torino, Italy.
This time around, Carvalho left no doubt.
After three strong rounds, the Brazilian put his foe down with a blistering kick to the side of the head in the fourth round. No followup strikes were required. Manhoef was out like a light, and Carvalho had defended his throne once more. Watch the Brazilian’s thudding, head-kick knockout at the end of the video at the top of this article.
With this result, Carvalho moves onto an impressive 14-fight win-streak, having only lost his first pro bout, which occurred in December of 2011. The 30-year-old Brazilian is 14-1 in sum, and can now look ahead to fights with Bellator middleweight contenders like Hisaki Kato and Alexander Shlemenko.
Manhoef, meanwhile, has now been knocked out five times as a mixed martial artist, and six times as a kickboxer – certainly a worrisome statistic. That said, the 40 year old Dutch-Surinamese striker still possesses some of the most violent power in the game today – as evidenced by his recent knockout of Hisaki Kato.
What do you think of this epic win from Rafael Carvalho? Who do you think he should fight next? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/9/2017.