Bellator 190 “Carvalho vs. Sakara" took place last night (Sat., Dec. 9, 2017) at Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy. The main event was a Middleweight title defense between a champion on a 14-fight win streak and a local favorite with a UFC past.
Rafael Carvalho’s 14-fight win streak stretched all the way from March 2012 to this year, capturing Bellator’s vacant 185-pound title in the process. To extend that streak to 15 he’d have to beat “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara, on a three-fight streak since leaving UFC and joining Bellator.
Carvalho wasted little time throwing bombs, starching Sakara with a right hand that had him backpedaling toward the fence, and once Carvalho realized he was hurt he swarmed and unloaded with another huge right to end the fight at just 44 seconds by knockout.
Jimmy Smith and a translator stepped into the cage to speak to the victorious champ.
“I like to thank you everybody for the hospitality, thank all my team, I believe that God wants me to stay here in this cage and never leave. WHO’S NEXT?”
Popular Flyweight fighter Lena Ovchynnikova was also in action in Florence seeking her third straight win in Bellator MMA, but rising 6-1 star Alejandra Lara would not make that easy. Dancing her way to the cage made it appear that Lara’s confidence was high for this fight.
Lara was eating hard shots at range early in the first round, searched for a takedown to avoid damage, and nearly got caught in a scarf hold submission in the process. From there she got a takedown to side control and did damage, but Ovchynnikova came back late in the frame with a takedown to full mount throwing hands.
Lara was even more successful in round two, taking Ovchynnikova down multiple times and reversing a takedown to get the back with both hooks in late in the frame, unable to score a submission on Ovchynnikova before the bell. The third round was the culmination of Lara’s repeated takedowns, as she finally flattened Ovchynnikova out and sank in the rear naked choke for the tapout at 4:09.
Lightweights also stepped into the Bellator cage as Brandon Girtz (14-7) took on Straight Blast Gym fighter Luka Jelcic (6-1). Jelcic had a height and reach advantage coming in but Girtz had a “warrior” mentality even before the opening bell.
Girtz took Jelcic’s willingness to engage as an opportunity to engage in fistic fury, leveling his opponent with a right hook and an uppercut that led to a knockout stoppage at just 1:59.
The quick victory gave Girtz ample opportunity to speak with Jimmy Smith afterward.
“I had something to show man. I’ve got the power and I can knock out anybody in the division just like that. It was absolutely great. I want to come back when we fight in Rome. Everything’s amazing here. I love this country — it’s great.”
Rounding out the main card is a bout between Mihail Nica (6-0) and Carlos Miranda (10-3) at Lightweight. Nica looked to remain undefeated as the local favorite out of Torino (originally hailing from the Republic of Moldova) while Miranda looked to impress in his Bellator debut.
Miranda dominated in the first round, putting the undefeated Nica on his back and opening him up with left elbows to the head. The second round was eerily similar, with Miranda tying Nica up in the muay thai plum to deliver knees, then throwing him to the ground to beat him up some more. He was more than happy to drop elbows on his hapless foe.
Miranda continued to pitch a shutout in the third round. The Italian crowd roared when Nica tried to throw up his legs and trap an arm late in the frame, but Miranda pulled free with 33 seconds left and did damage until the bell. All three judges scored it for Miranda, 30-26 and 30-27 X2.
For complete Bellator 190 results and coverage click here.