Middleweight Title Rematch Headlining Bellator 168

The Bellator Middleweight Title will be defended at Bellator 168 as champion Rafael Carvalho will again be defending the championship against Melvin Manhoef.

Carvalho (13-1-0) first defended the championship against Manhoef (30-13-1-2NC) back at Bellator 155 in May of this year. The win was a controversial one, as the fight was seemingly endlessly five rounds of inactivity with Manhoef landing the majority of what little offense was thrown. Carvalho still walked away with the decision.

When we asked former Bellator champion (and recently released) Halsey about the fight, he had strong words.

"“There were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. Professional fighters – we're showmen. We put on fights, we put on entertainment, and that fight wasn't entertaining. It was boring to watch. (Carvalho) fought scared and it showed. Being a fellow fighter and a showman, it was hard to watch. The second thing was that you're representing the company I'm fighting for, and it puts a bad name on Bellator. The third thing was watching the guy who took the belt off of you represent himself and the company as a pathetic excuse of a champion. When you're a champion and you put it on the line and go out to finish fights. He didn't do that," said Halsey

Carvalho won the title when he finished former champion Brandon Halsey with a body kick at Bellator 144 in October 2015. Carvalho also holds wins over kickboxing great Joe Schlling and Brian Rogers.

Manhoef has only won just one of his last four in Bellator MMA competition, that lone win came over Hisaki Kato by knockout at Bellator 146. Manhoef will be headlining his fifth Bellator MMA event.

The co-main event for the evening will see UFC veterans collide at Joey Beltran will be taking on Alessio Sakara in a middleweight division clash.

This is a joint MMA/kickboxing event from Bellator MMA, a bout between Denise Kielholtz and Gloria Peritore for the vacant women’s flyweight title is expected to headline the kickboxing portion of the event.

Bellator 168 will be taking place on Saturday, December 10th from the Nelson Mandela Forum in Floreance, Italy with Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef headlining.

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