Bellator has quietly seen both a record tied, and perhaps one of their division's greatest fights ever set up.
Belllator Middleweight Champion Rafael Carvalho successfully defended his title on Saturday evening at Bellator 190 against Alessio Sakara, in his opponent's home country of Italy no less. The victory would tie Alexander Shlemenko with three successful Bellator Middleweight Championship defenses, which puts him one behind Ben Askren for the company record overall. You can see an excerpt of our Fightful.com live coverage below.
Round One: Carvalho steps in and lands a couple of punches that stagger Sakara. A huge elbow knocks out Sakara. Well, then. The crowd was behind him, too.
Official Result: Rafael Carvalho (c) defeated Alessio Sakara via KO (punches) Round 1, 0:45
The win comes after a tumultuous history of the championship. Hector Lombard won the title in 2009, and only defended it once before vacating it in April 2012. The new champion wouldn't be determined for another nine months, but in 2015 Brandon Halsey was stripped of the title after missing weight. Carvalho would eventually win the title, but a horrible fight with Melvin Manhoef would follow.
Despite being defined by his first fight with Manhoef to many, Carvalho has finished three of his four title fights in Bellator, and rides a fifteen fight winning streak.
Carvalho is likely to take on UFC and Strikeforce veteran Gegard Mousasi next, in what will serve as the biggest fight in Bellator's 185 pound division history.