Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida now has the details of his Bellator debut. The Brazilian legend will battle a fellow Brazilian in former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho. The fight will go down on December 15, as part of Bellator’s recently announced debut in Honolulu, Hawaii. The pair will meet at middleweight.
This, per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
Lyoto Machida vs. former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho is set for Bellator’s Hawaii debut on Dec. 15, Scott Coker told ESPN. Story coming shortly.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) September 12, 2018
“Lyoto Machida vs. former Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho is set for Bellator’s Hawaii debut on Dec. 15, Scott Coker told ESPN,” Helwani reported on Twitter.
Lyoto Machida will enter the Bellator cage on a two-fight win-streak having recently bested former football player Eryk Anders by decision, and MMA legend Vitor Belfort with a 2018 Knockout of the Year contender. These wins were preceded by stoppage losses to Derek Brunson, Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold. Lyoto Machida, who holds a win over reigning Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, is 24-8 overall.
Rafael Carvalho, meanwhile, is 15-2 overall. He last fought in May, when he succumbed to first round strikes from Mousasi, surrendering the title to the Dutchman in the process. This loss was preceded by a 15-fight win-streak, highlighted by defeats of Brian Rogers, Joe Schilling, Brandon Halsey, Melvin Manhoef, and Alessio Sakara.
Bellator’s debut in Hawaii will be headlined by a women’s flyweight title fight between Hawaiian champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and Canadian challenger Valerie Letourneau.
Macfarlane will enter this exciting title fight with a flawless, 8-0 record. The seven most recent of those wins have occurred in the Bellator cage. Macfarlane won the inaugural Bellator flyweight bout in November of 2017, when she submitted Emily Ducote with a fifth-round triangle armbar. She has since defended her title with a third-round armbar of Alejandra Lara.
Canada’s Letourneau, meanwhile, is 10-6 overall. After losing consecutive bouts to then champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Joanne Calderwood, and Viviane Pereira, she was released from the UFC. Since then, she’s gone 2-0 in the Bellator cage, defeating Kate Jackson and Kristina Williams, both by decision. The former UFC title challenger is easily the toughest test of Ilima-Lei Macfarlane’s impressive career thus far.
How do you think Lyoto Machida will perform under the Bellator banner?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/12/2018.