Rafael Carvalho Set to Defend Bellator Middleweight Strap in Italy

After defeating perennial middleweight contender Melvin Manhoef with a vicious head kick two months ago, many wondered who would be the next challenger for Bellator MMA Middleweight Champion, Rafael Carvalho.

On Tuesday evening, Oktagon, a kickboxing promotion that has co-promoted with Bellator MMA in the past, announced that they will once again be co-promoting a December event with Bellator in Florence, Italy. The show will be headlined by Rafael Carvalho (14-1) as he defends his Middleweight belt against UFC and Bellator veteran Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara (19-11 2NC). At this point in time, Carvalho is 5-0 in Bellator including wins over the likes of Manhoef, Joe Schilling, and Brandon Halsey. The Brazilian will be looking for his fifteenth straight win when he takes on Rome’s Sakara. Sakara is 2-0 in the promotion, with both bouts taking place in his native country. While he competed at middleweight during his 15-fight UFC stint, “Legionarius” has competed in Bellator only at light heavyweight, defeating both Joey Beltran and Brian Rogers by KO.

The bout will take place December 9th from the Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy. The co-promoted event will also feature a middleweight kickboxing bout between Gevorg “Giorgi” Petrosyan (85-2-2 1NC) takes on Samy Sana (86-3). It is unknown at this time what numerical will be given to this event.

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Nolan King is a MMA Today senior columnist, writer and renowned MMA insider. Nolan's other freelance work can also be found on FloCombat, Tapology, and MMA Brasil.