Melvin Manhoef will get a second shot at Rafael Carvalho and the Bellator middleweight title, as the two headline Bellator 168.
Set for December 10 from Italy, the event will also feature kickboxing matches.
Here is a press release from Bellator:
Bellator MMA is returning to Italy with another action-packed combo event on Dec. 10 from the Mandela Forum in Florence, featuring both Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing brands. The Scott Coker-led promotion today announced the MMA portion’s main event, which will feature Rafael Carvalho (13-1) and Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC) in a rematch for Carvalho’s 185-pound championship. Meanwhile, “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” has added a lightweight matchup between Italian superstar striker Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) and British kickboxing champion Jordan Watson (48-11-2).
The mixed martial arts event will also boast Italy’s most popular and beloved mixed martial artist, Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC), who takes on Mexican-American slugger Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) in a light heavyweight matchup.
Exact broadcast details for “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” and “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” will be revealed shortly.
The Bellator Kickboxing card also features an anticipated female flyweight rematch between Dutch striking ace Denise Kielholtz (45-3) and the woman who defeated her this past June, Gloria Peritore (11-1-1) for the inaugural Bellator Kickboxing Flyweight World Championship. Additionally, other Bellator superstars Raymond Daniels, Kevin Ross and Joe Schilling are also likely to compete on the card against opponents to be named later.
If you ask both Carvalho and Manhoef, the two’s first meeting didn’t go as planned for either party. The main event of “Bellator 155” saw both men go toe-to-toe for 25 minutes before the three judges rendered a split decision in favor of the incumbent champion; a verdict that many deemed controversial. Now, nearly seven months after their first meeting, the pair of competitors will meet again.
Carvalho’s second-round body kick knockout of Brandon Halsey at “Bellator 144: Halsey vs. Carvalho” was the third biggest oddsmaker upset in 2015, and was the bout that earned the gold he wears around his waist today. The 30-year-old will be making his fifth appearance under the Bellator MMA banner and will look to extend his current winning streak to 14-bouts.
With a resume of knockouts as violent as Manhoef, it’s no surprise the Dutch competitor has earned the nickname of “No Mercy.” Known for his relentless striking style, the former K-1 and Strikeforce competitor finds himself once again in a position to lay claim to the Bellator 185-pound MMA title, and has even further incentive to leave the judges’ out of it.
Adoringly referred to by his fans as “The Doctor,” Petrosyan is one man you do not want an appointment with. The top-ranked Armenian-Italian striking ace will be making his debut with the budding Bellator Kickboxing Promotion when he squares off against Watson on 10 Dec. Training alongside his brother Armen, the 30-year-old southpaw put together an incredible 42-fight unbeaten streak, cultivating an extensive trophy case that includes multiple championship belts as well as “Kickboxer of the Year” accolades in both 2011 (BloodyElbow.com) and 2012 (LiverKick.com).
When you compete in the lightweight division in the world of kickboxing, aside from striving to earn the title, you’re also looking towards a fight with the No. 1 kickboxer in the world in Petrosyan. An ISKA World Champion and K-1 UK runner up, Watson will get that chance when he meets “The Doctor” at “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence.” It will be interesting to see what game plan the British striker implores when he meets his opponent — but if his nickname of ‘Quadzilla’ is any indication, the 28-year-old will utilize his kicks to keep the vicious striking of Petrosyan at bay. Training extensively around the world, Watson has also spent a good amount of time in the Muay Thai scene, accruing a knack for finishes (21) along the way. Victorious in his lone 2016 fight, Watson hopes to soar into 2017 with a win against arguably the greatest kick boxer in the world under his belt.
Updated “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” Card:
Middleweight World Title Bout: Rafael Carvalho (13-1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC)
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) vs. Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC)
Updated “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” Card:
Lightweight Feature Fight: Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) vs. Jordan Watson (48-11-2)
Flyweight World Title: Denise Kielholtz (45-3) vs. Gloria Peritore (11-1-1)