Bellator 176: "Carvalho vs. Manhoef" takes place TONIGHT (Sat., April 8, 2017) from inside Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy, featuring a Middleweight title rematch between Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef after neither man was satisfied with their first bout at Bellator 155.
A special afternoon start time will bring this four-fight card to fruition, one that includes a Lightweight fight with Mihail Nica, and popular Russian bombshell Anastasia Yankova looking to remain perfect (5-0) against Elina Kallionidou. Local fans at Pala Alpitour will also get to enjoy a hybrid Bellator Kickboxing card with Flyweight champion Denise Kielholtz defending her title for the first time against Martine Michieletto.
Bellator 176 will start at 3 p.m. ET on Spike TV. MMAmania.com will be here to deliver results and play-by-play for the entirety of the Bellator MMA broadcast card.
Many readers check in before, during and after the fights to share their thoughts on all of the action. Feel free to leave a comment (or 176) about the bouts and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show -- it's always a lot of fun!
BELLATOR 176 QUICK RESULTS:
Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef -- Carvalho KO (head kick) 3:15 R4.
Anastasia Yankova vs. Elina Kallionidou -- Yankova UD 29-28, 30-27 X2.
Samba Coulibaly vs. Mihail Nica -- Nica sub (anaconda) 0:36 R1.
Djamil Chan vs. Valeriu Mircea -- Mircea MD 28-28, 29-28 X2.
BELLATOR 176 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef
Manhoef dances a tango on his way to the cage first, wearing the black trunks and blue gloves. The champion Carvalho has on black trunks and red gloves. Manhoef is 30-13-1, Carvalho is 13-1. Manhoef is 40 and Carvalho is 30. Carvalho has a reach advantage as well - 80” to 73”. Manhoef fights out of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Carvalho fights out of Curitiba, Brazil. Our referee for this main event title fight is Kevin MacDonald.
Round 1: Both men come to the center with their dukes up. Carvalho lands a body kick. Manhoef throws and misses a backfist but connects with a leg kick. Manhoef comes forward but gets thrown to the side and eats a huge right. Manhoef takes a finger to the eye and MacDonald calls time to give Carvalho a warning. Manhoef gets a warning too and the action resumes. Carvalho is pressuring Manhoef toward the fence and Manhoef keeps attacking with leg kicks. Carvalho dumps Manhoef to the ground with a takedown at 1:56. Manhoef scrambles back to his feet but is immediately pinned to the fence. Carvalho with knees to the leg and to the body. Manhoef can’t break free and MacDonald just stands there watching. Carvalho is reversed as he brings a knee up and Manhoef is on top. He backs off to throw leg kicks and looks for an opportunity to jump over the top. Carvalho gets his back to the fence and hangs on as Manhoef rides it out in half guard. 10-9 Carvalho.
Round 2: Manhoef and Carvalho trade kicks to start the round. Carvalho is aggressive once Manhoef has his back to the fence. He keeps reaching out with his right hand to find the range. Manhoef and Carvalho wind up off camera but Manhoef misses a home run swing on what appeared to be a missed takedown. Carvalho keeps stalking and lands a left and a knee. Manhoef gets back to the center at the two minute mark. Manhoef catches a kick and throws a nice punch but doesn’t follow up and Carvalho gets up. Manhoef is warned to watch his fingers. Carvalho covers up as Manhoef throws a flurry. Manhoef wings a right hand that doesn’t connect. Carvalho’s kick to the body does. He connects with a left and makes Manhoef become intimate with the cage again. Manhoef tries to muscle his way out. MacDonald resets them for more action at 3:55. Carvalho with a left hook and a right kick. Carvalho chases Manhoef to the bell. 10-9 for the champion.
Round 3: Jab jab jab head kick as Carvalho pushes his way into range. Manhoef catches a kick but Carvalho breaks free. Kick to the body by Carvalho. Manhoef with a head kick in response. Carvalho gets Manhoef on the fence and goes for a leg trip, Manhoef blatantly grabs the fence to stop it, and MacDonald signals a one point deduction to the judges. There are still over three minutes left in the round when we resume. Carvalho throws a knee drops for a double and gets it at 2:14. Manhoef tries to get up, Carvalho pulls his legs away, Manhoef gets to his knees again and Carvalho looks to take his back. MacDonald wants more action. Carvalho with right hands to the head from behind. Manhoef finally gets up at 3:48. Carvalho pins him to the fence, Manhoef turns him around, MacDonald calls for work, the crowd boos. He resets them with 25 seconds to go this round. Carvalho wins this round 10-8.
Round 4: Manhoef seems pretty lethargic on his way to the center to start R4 but he’s still got deadly power in his hands if Carvalho makes any mistakes. In fact Manhoef seems to think he hurt Carvalho as he swarms for the first minute but can’t land a kill shot. Carvalho finally starts coming forward instead of going backward at 1:40. Manhoef keeps looking for one big left over the top. Even when he lands it at 2:20 Carvalho stays standing. Carvalho eats another after he thought there would be a stoppage for something and wasn’t. Manhoef with a nice combo at 3:05. Carvalho UNLOADS WITH A LEFT HEAD KICK in response and THIS FIGHT IS DONE.
Final result: Rafael Carvalho retains via knockout (head kick) at 3:15 in round four.
Anastasia Yankova vs. Elina Kallionidou
Kallionidou is out first in the black trunks and top with blue gloves. Yankova is in the pink top and red gloves. Yankova is 4-0 and 133 lbs. fighting out of Moscow, Russia while Kallionidou is 5-1 and 131 lbs. fighting out of Preveza, Greece. This was supposed to be a 130 lb. catchweight fight. Rob Hinds is our referee.
Round 1: Kallionidou lands a couple of shots early as the fighters quickly engage, until Yankova bull rushes her into the fence for a clinch. Kallionidou breaks away at 41 seconds. Yankova throws a flurry and Kallionidou backpedals to the fence and we get another clinch at the 90 second mark. Kallionidou tries to slip behind to the back but can’t get it and has to let go and reset. Kallionidou tries to push it into the fence but eats some kicks before Yankova breaks out. Kallionidou is pressed into the fence for some hard knees at 2:50. She circles off at 3:10. Kallionidou is eating a lot of shots to the head. Kallionidou tries a spinning backfist that doesn’t work and gets run into the fence again. She tries to go behind but Yankova takes her to the ground right into side control. She goes for full mount with 30 seconds left but can’t keep it and is back to side control again to close the round. 10-9 Yankova.
Round 2: Kallionidou is trying to pressure early this round and does land a nice left hand, but at 20 seconds the momentum changes and Yankova pressures her into the fence. Yankova almost armlocks Kallionidou behind her back. She escapes and growls as she throws a leg kick. Yankova eats a spinning backfist but pushes her into the fence. Kallionidou reverses it and has an underhook. Yankova breaks off at 2:15. Yankova rushes her into the fence again and Hinds reminds them not to grab the cage. Yankova almost had the back at 3:15 but Kallionidou squirmed free. Yankova tags her with a left. Yankova kicks Kallionidou in the face as she pushes Yankova into the fence. Once again Yankova nearly has the back but Kallionidou spins out. Body kick by Yankova. A flurry of leg kicks and hands before they tie up again to end R2. 10-9 Yankova.
Round 3: Kallionidou dances on the outside and throws a couple of nice lefts. They get into a flurry against the cage, Yankova takes her back, Kallionidou tries some reverse elbows hoping to shake her off. She finally turns around and gets out at 1:21. Leg kick by Yankova. Yankova pressures with a flurry and gets the underhooks on the fence. Kallionidou eats a front kick to the face as she tries to spin out. Yankova headlocks her and goes for a guillotine. Kallionidou hits a reverse elbow to get out. Both women seem exhausted at this point — mouths wide open and breathing hard any time they tie up. Yankova lands a straight left and puts Kallionidou’s back to the cage again. Kallionidou covers up to avoid a flurry and steps away. Yankova eats another backfist and is throwing hard lefts. They trade with 40 seconds left as they break. Yankova gets Kallionidou against the cage but once again she slips free. Yankova is the one coming forward at the bell. 10-9 again for what should be a clean sweep. Kallionidou collapses after the fight.
Final result: 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 all for Anastasia Yankova by unanimous decision.
Samba Coulibaly vs. Mihail Nica
Nica is in the green trunks and blue gloves for this fight. He's the hometown fighter this evening, having moved to Torino when he was 12. Coulibaly is in the white trunks and red gloves fighting out of Paris, France. Nica is 5-0, Coulibaly is 11-4. Coulibaly has a 66" reach while Nica has a 70" reach. Our referee in charge of this fight is Rob Hinds.
Round 1: Coulibaly rushes to the center for a glove tap and they immediately mix it up, Nica landing kicks, Coulibaly trying to clinch for a takedown. It turns Nica countering the throw with a throw of his own. Once it goes to the ground Nica already has a dominant position and a submission locked in, while Coulibaly tries to roll to get free, but with a fence in his way there's no escape. Nica winds up getting a tap via anaconda choke approximately 36 seconds in.
Final result: Mihail Nica wins via submission (anaconda choke) at 0:36 of the first round.
Djamil Chan vs. Valeriu Mircea
Chan is in the red trunks and the blue gloves in this bout. Mircea has on the green trunks and red gloves. Chan is 12-3, Mircea is 13-4. Chan fights out of Rotterdam, Netherlands and Mircea fights out of Venezia, Italy. Our referee is Kevin MacDonald.
Round 1: Mircea throws the first kick but it's out of range. The second is a little closer. He's dancing back and forth on the outer circle just far enough away for Chan to tag him. A high kick attempt isn't flush. Spin kick misses. Chan finally tries to pull the trigger but Mircea takes his back and gets it to the ground throwing rights. Mircea grinds on him with the left elbow while Chan tries to inch back to the fence. Mircea tries to pull him away so he can't wall walk. He spins Chan back to the the canvas at 2:57 and unloads with right hands. Chan manages to trap the right arm but Mircea moves his left leg over the knee and gets half guard. He goes for a guillotine but Chan manages to pull the arm off and almost sweeps. 10-9 round for Mircea.
Round 2: Mircea circles around Chan for 15 seconds until the two clash with leg kicks. Mircea starts yelling "COME ON" at him and Chan throws a front kick. Chan shoots for a takedown and gets Mircea high up in the air at 45 seconds to slam him down in side control, but Mircea has a guillotine and Chan scrambles back to his feet to avoid the potential submission. Chan gets kicked in the cup and MacDonald briefly stops the action to let him recover, admonishing them to keep it clean before the restart. Mircea goes right back to leg kicks. Chan goes for a takedown after catching a kick but Mircea changes the momentum and direction, and he lands on top in half guard. Chan once again inches his way back to the fence. Mircea uses his free arm for shots to the body and the head, sneaking in the occasional left elbow, turning him away from the fence at 3:40. MacDonald stops the action at 4:01 and gives Mircea a warning for a headbutt. He restarts them standing. Chan catches a front kick and throws a right hook after letting go. He drops levels for a double leg with 15 seconds left. That could make it a toss-up round to a judge but to me it's 10-9 Mircea since he was on top longer and did more with it.
Round 3: Both men tap gloves to open our third and final round. Chan is being much more active in stand-up with his kicks. Chan gets the double right to side control at 1:10 but Mircea spins his way back to guard. Mircea pushes off the fence with his feet and throws elbows off his back, while Chan is trying to posture up to throw shots. Mircea is talking trash and trying to do damage even though he's the grounded man. He scrambles back to his feet at 3:05 and immediately starts throwing right hands and kicks but gets taken down again at 3:23. He's got Chan's neck in a guillotine but Chan pops out at 3:48 and is throwing rights. His ground and pound is more effective this time. I give Chan this round 10-9 but it's the scoring of R2 that will determine this fight.
Final result: 28-28, 29-28 and 29-28 for Valeriu Mircea by majority decision.