Rafael Carvalho moved to 14-1 and retained the Bellator middleweight crown after defeating legendary striker Melvin Manhoef (30-14) in their rematch in Torino, Italy, on Saturday night at Bellator 176. Carvalho, who won the first fight by a controversial split decision last year, got the job done with a head kick at 3 minutes 15 seconds of round four in their contest. It was a brutal end to the contest, which was not going his way.
"The last fight didn’t go as I expected or like the public expected," Carvalho said. "This fight I knew that there needed to be an undisputed winner with a finish and I’m very glad that I was the one who came away with the victory.
"I’m going to continue to defend my middleweight title here at Bellator, but I’m also interested in a super fight in our light heavyweight division or maybe a bout in Bellator Kickboxing. That would be fun for me."
Anastasia Yankova, the former Muay Thai fighter from Russia who has appeared in that country's edition of Vogue and who has a contract with Nike, moved to 5-0 in MMA after defeating Elina Kallionidou (5-2), of Greece, via unanimous decision - 29-28, 30-27, 30-27. Yankova, employing her dangerous kicks, dominated her opponent.
"I feel okay after this fight," said Yankova after the bout. "My face looks much better right now than it did after my last fight," Yankova said "It wasn’t perfect but I’m improving every day and I’ll continue to train hard with Mike [Swick] at AKA Thailand. I am working to get my weight down to 125 lbs. where I want to soon be Bellator’s champion."
Bellator MMA moves onto an event in Budapest, Hungary, on Friday headlined by bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (19-4), taking on Darrion Caldwell (10-1).