28 February 2017 | 12:00 am
Bellator 176: “Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” comes to Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy on Apr. 8, 2017. It’s a hybrid show in combination with Bellator Kickboxing that heretofore only had two mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts before the promotion made the following announcement:
Middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho will once again lock horns with Dutch kickboxing legend Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef in the Spike TV-televised main event of the evening. The two were originally scheduled to meet again at Bellator 168 in Florence, Italy, in Dec. 2016, but Carvalho withdrew via injury, moving Alessio Sakara vs. Joey Beltran to the top as the new headline fight at Mandela Forum.
Before that fight was scrubbed Manhoef talked to MMA Mania about their first encounter at Bellator 155 in Boise, Idaho, a frustrating five round affair left Carvalho the reigning champion via split decision.
“It was also very technical, and that is taking a lot of energy. I wanted to go in at the right time, to go in and blast, and he felt the pressure also. In the first two rounds he got some problems with some kicks, so maybe that’s why he was backing off — I don’t know. That’s what I thought. He still didn’t do enough I think to prove to people that he’s a champion.”
Now Carvalho will get that chance in the main event of Bellator 176, putting his title on the line against Manhoef for a second time. With 73 percent of his MMA wins (27 out of 37) coming via knockout, the champ will need to be wary of the power of Manhoef’s lethal striking.
Check out the updated Bellator 176 fight card, including all previously announced bouts, below:
Bellator 176: “Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” (Spike TV):
Middleweight: Rafael Carvalho (13-1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC)
Lightweight: Carrington Banks (6-0) vs. Mihail Nica (5-0)
Lightweight: Djamil Chan (12-3) vs. Valeriu Mircea (13-4)
Bellator Kickboxing 5 (Unaired):
Flyweight: Denise Kielholtz (46-3) vs. Martine Michieletto (34-12-5)
Lightweight: Giorgio Petrosyan (83-2-2, 1NC) vs. Amansio Paraschiv (23-5-1)
To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.