Bellator 190: Carvalho dispatches Sakara quickly
By Joel Croichy
Saturday, Bellator returned to action with Bellator 190 inside Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy. In the headliner, Rafael Carvalho (15-1) silenced the crowd after knocking out Alessio Sakara (19–12–2) in the very first round.
Carvalho did not let the pressure of competing on enemy soil interfere with his game plan. He successfully retained his middleweight title by stopping Sakara in just 44 seconds within the fight. Carvalho immediately took control of the center of the cage and landed a combination that stunned his opponent. He then charged in with a flying knee and followed up with multiple strikes which led to a knockout victory.
In the co-main event, Brandon Girtz (15–7) snapped his three-fight losing streak after scoring a knockout victory over Luka Jelcic (10-3). Aiming to get back in the winning column, Girtz went on the attack early by landing a series of uppercuts that dropped Jelcic. Girtz did not waste any time by delivering ground strikes which resulted in a first-round knockout win.
Alejandra Lara (7-1) made a statement in her Bellator debut, after picking up a submission win over Lena Ovchynnikova (12-5). Lara relied heavily on her ground game to find the opening to secure a rear naked choke in the third round. Kicking off the main card, Carlos Miranda (11-3) won his promotional debut where he handed Mihail Nica (6-1) his first loss in his career. Miranda earned the unanimous decision win by utilizing all his skills throughout the fight. He overwhelmed his opponent by landing combinations, knees inside the clinch and scoring takedowns.
With this win, Carvalho now is tied with Alexander Shlemenko for having the most title defenses in the division history. A clash between Carvalho and Gegard Mousasi is a considerable possibility for next year which has all potential of being an exciting championship contest.
Photo: Bellator MMA