This weekend Bellator 175 takes place with “King Mo” versus “Rampage” Jackson. Only one week later Bellator MMA returns to Italy for another split show with Oktagon featuring four MMA fights, the main event being Rafael Carvalho defending the middleweight title against Melvin Manhoef. Bellator 176 takes place April 8th at the Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy with the main card broadcast on Spike TV.
The main event is a rematch of champion Rafael Carvalho’s first title defense. The first meeting of Carvalho and Melvin Manhoef took place at Bellator 155 last May with Carvalho taking a split decision, neither fighter has fought since. Carvalho enters this defense 13-1 with his only loss being his first fight in December 2011 while in Bellator he defeated Brian Rogers, Joe Schilling, Brandon Halsey for the title, and Manhoef for the first defense. In MMA Manhoef is 30-13-1 overall, 2-2 (and one “no contest”) in Bellator with a win over Doug Marshall, loss to Joe Schilling, no contest to Alexander Shlemenko, win over Hisaki Kato, and the loss to Carvalho.
Bellator seem determined to make Anastasia Yankova a star, now the undefeated Russian returns to face Elina Kallionidou. Yankova was supposed to be the next big thing for the women’s flyweight division, a division for which the UFC doesn’t have a champion and therefore Bellator might be able to dominate. While flyweight is 125 pounds Yankova only fought at that weight for her Bellator debut, her second fight and this fight being at 130. Yankova is 4-0, in Bellator she defeated Anjela Pink and Veta Arteaga. 5-1 Elina Kallionidou only fought in Bellator once, a unanimous decision loss to Sinead Kavanagh in December of last year.
Headlining the Oktagon kickboxing undercard is Denise Kieholtz defending the women’s flyweight kickboxing title against Martine Michieletto.
- LW: Djamil Chan vs. Valeriu Mircea
- WW: Carrington Banks vs. Mihail Nica
- W130: Anastasia Yankova vs. Elina Kallionidou
- MW title: Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef