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Bellator 176 Results: Carvalho Knocks Out Manhoef in Italy

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Carvalho vs Manhoef

Bellator returned to Italy on Saturday night, with a four fight MMA main card on Spike. The event took place in Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy and aired ahead of Bellator Kickboxing 5.

In the main event middleweights Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef rematched for Bellator’s 185 pound title. The two first met in May 2016 at Bellator 155 in one of the worst title fights in Bellator history. That night Carvalho retained his title with a contentious, action-less split decision victory.

The winner would be the same on Saturday night, but Carvalho’s victory was much more decisive. The Brazilian landed a brutal head kick in the fourth round which instantly ended the fight.

Manhoef had some success early, landing with power, most notably chopping away at the champion with thudding low kicks. It was a performance from both fighters that was far removed from their previous tepid encounter.

Carvalho was always in the fight, no matter how hard Manhoef was willing to throw strikes. The champion bloodied Manhoef in the second round, before the challenger was deducted a point in the third for grabbing the cage.

Sensing that the deducted point could make all the difference, Manhoef came out firing in the fourth round, but that only opened him up to the perfect fight ending kick. Carvalho connected with such force that an audible thud could be heard throughout the arena and on television. The fight was stopped at the 3:15 mark in the fourth round.

Elsewhere on the four fight card, Russian prospect Anastasia Yankova secured the fifth win of her professional MMA career when she outpointed Elina Kallionidou.

It was a typically lacklustre performance from the faux-flyweight, who did little more than outwork her 18-year-old opponent over three rounds. A competitive win in the 133 pound catchweight bout did nothing to suggest that Yankova is ready to pose a legitimate threat to Bellator’s top flyweights, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Emily Ducote and Colleen Schneider.

Judges turned in scorecards of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 all in favour of Yankova, who remains a marketable work in progress.

At lightweight Valeriu Mircea pulled the upset against Djamil Chan, winning by majority decision. Chan was able to put Mircea on his back often, but was unable to keep the Moldovan there. Despite a late rally from Chan, two judges scored the fight 29-28 for Mircea, with a third rendering a 28-28 draw as Mircea won by majority decision.

In the show opener, local favourite Mihail Nica wasted no time in submitting Samba Coulibaly. The Moldovan born Italian resident took only 36 seconds to force the tap from Coulibaly with an anaconda choke.

Bellator 176 Results:

  • Rafael Carvalho def. Melvin Manhoef via knockout (head kick) – Round 4, 3:15
  • Anastasia Yankova def. Elina Kallionidou via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Valeriu Mircea def. Djamil Chan via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Mihail Nica def. Samba Coulibaly via submission (anaconda) – Round 1, 0:36
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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.

“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”

Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.

“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”

Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.

“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”

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Refereeing’s Loss is Bellator’s Gain

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When former Bellator color commentator Jimmy Smith left the organization last week, not many expected MMA veteran referee, John McCarthy, to be his replacement. There is little doubt that McCarthy will make an excellent color analyst. However, it’s hard not to be disappointed that the sport is losing one of the best and most experienced referees.

McCarthy has been part of the fabric of MMA and the UFC in particular, since 1993. He was hugely influential in creating and enforcing the rules of the cage that have changed MMA into the respected sport it is today. Back in early to mid-nineties, the ‘sport’ was fairly labeled by some critics as ‘human cockfighting’. Without McCarthy as an instrumental player in changing regulations and rules, who knows where the MMA would be today.

What we have grown to appreciate most about McCarthy over the past two decades is how simple he makes this tough job look, which can be credited to years of experience and dedication. To the layman, it would appear that it’s a simple as stopping the fight when a fighter is knocked out or submitted. MMA fans know there’s a lot more to it than that.

It’s difficult to remember a moment in recent memory where McCarthy has let a fight go too long, or even stopped a fight too soon. His timing is almost always perfect. His composure and rationale in the cage are unmatched. When McCarthy is the third man in the Octagon we know the fighters are in safe hands.

It’s worth reiterating how important McCarthy is in maintaining the standard of referring and judging in the sport. The sport of MMA is still very young and is growing rapidly and so are the rules. The former LAPD police officer created his own training school known as C.O.M.M.A.N.D. The course teaches the next generation of MMA referees and judges, and there is no better person to be educated by. Referees must complete this or a similar course run by Herb Dean to be licensed as an official.

Former fighter Frank Trigg, who has pursued refereeing since his career wound down, has taken the course. He recently appeared on The MMA Hour to explain just how tough C.O.M.M.A.N.D is. It took Trigg three attempts to pass, emphasizing just how difficult a career path officiating is.

While ‘Big John’ as he is more affectionately known hasn’t completely left refereeing, he will likely no longer be seen in the cage at the biggest shows. The pool of referees trusted with the big title fights is rather small. Normally McCarthy and Herb Dean are tasked with the important title fights.

It’s not all bad that McCarthy is stepping aside for the time being. The likes of Mark Smith, Jason Herzog, and Chris Tognoni have all shown they are capable officials. There is now a great opportunity for them to move into the main event slots. There are also the likes of Yves Lavigne, Mike Beltran and Marc Goddard who can be trusted to referee the big fights.

While it is surprising, it’s understandable that McCarthy is looking for new career ventures. It is no secret that MMA referees are poorly paid relative to other sporting officials. Las Vegas often discloses referee pay when assignments are announced. The pay tends to range between $1000 and $2000 for the night. Trigg explained on The MMA hour that there is no money in becoming a referee and that most also have full-time jobs. McCarthy’s passion for the sport of MMA has been the biggest incentive for refereeing. It is totally understandable that he would take a bigger payday and put all his knowledge of the sport to good use in the commentary booth.

McCarthy will almost certainly be as dedicated to his new job as he was with his refereeing duties. He can also offer a fascinating insight into the officiating of a fight that nobody else can offer. If there wasn’t already an excuse to watch Bellator 192 on January 20th, headlined by Rory MacDonald vs Douglas Lima, then there most definitely is now.

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Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson the new main event at Bellator 192

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Bellator is getting ready to kick off their heavyweight grand prix at Bellator 192 on January 20th. The grand prix gets started with two former UFC greats who have now set their sights on Bellator gold, Chael Sonnen and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Today it was announced that this heavyweight matchup of two ordinarily light heavyweights will be getting the bump up to the main event. The reason for the change has not been announced.

The main event was scheduled to be the much anticipated welterweight matchup between champion Douglas Lima and former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald. Bellator has been promoting this event as such the welterweight title fight would get top billing. Earlier this week the fighters involved in the main and co-main event were part of a conference call. At the time there was no mention of the switch to the lineup.

This fight between Sonnen and Jackson is just the first in a series of heavyweight fights leading up to the crowning of the Bellator heavyweight championship in December. There has been great interest shown in this heavyweight grand prix between fans and media, which could attribute to the last minute change.

Lima vs. MacDonald will now serve as the co-main event on January 20th. Lima, who has been with Bellator since 2011 has been accused of being overlooked by the organization. He has held the welterweight title since November 2016 and perhaps has not gotten the showcases he deserves. This event will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

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