Bellator MMA has announced a middleweight title fight, which will headline Bellator 176. Champion Rafael Carvalho will look to defend his title against Melvin Manhoef. The event takes place April 8 at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy.
Carvalho defeated Manhoef in his first title defense last May. The decision was highly controversial with many in the media believing that Manhoef deserved to win. The promotion booked a rematch for Bellator 168, but the champion pulled out with an injury. Carvalho won the middleweight title over Brandon Halsey. He also holds wins in Bellator over Brian Rogers and Joe Schilling.
Manhoef signed with Bellator in 2014. During his run in the promotion, he has scored victories over Doug Marshall and Hisaki Kato. He has not competed since falling to Carvalho in his last bout. During his career, Manhoef has also fought for Strikeforce and Dream. He holds wins over the likes of Evangelista Santos, Denis Kang, Kazuo Misaki, Mark Hunt and Kazushi Sakuraba.
This bout will serve as the main event of Bellator 176. The event will also feature kickboxing bouts. In the main event of the kickboxing portion, world-ranked Giorgio Petrosyan will return to action against Amansio Paraschiv.