Bellator MMA Middleweight Champion Rafael Carvalho will be defending the gold in a rematch against Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 176.
Their first encounter at Bellator 155 was one of the most boring fights in the promotions history, but the champion promises a more exciting fight this time around.
“No one should take our last fight into account – and now things are personal,” Carvalho said to MMA Junkie. “You won’t see the Rafael of my last fight. I’ll be more motivated and better prepared. Last time, I kept training around my injuries. This time I’m injury-free. This time we’re going to put on a show. We’re off to war. A soldier who goes off to war afraid to die is a coward, and I’m not afraid to die.”
Neither fighter has competed since their first meeting, which came almost a year ago in May 2016.
One reason that Carvalho feels the first fight was so boring is because he entered the fight injured.
“It’s no excuse, but for that fight I had a very challenging training camp,” Carvalho said. “I had one injury after another during that camp. I fought with my shoulder and lower back both hurt. And on fight day, I hurt my foot, so I fought per our strategy. People may say that I didn’t fight as a champion, but Melvin didn’t do more than me to deserve victory. Now, when we meet again, it’s going to be a different story.”
Bellator 176 takes place on Saturday, April 8 from the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy with Rafael Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow the next day.