Rafael Carvalho-Melvin Manhoef 2 Title Rematch Set to Headline Bellator 176 on April 8 in Italy

By Jordan Breen Feb 27, 2017
Bellator MMA is set to run back one of 2016's most controversial bouts.

Monday, the promotion announced that middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho will make the second defense of his throne against veteran Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef. The 185-pound title rematch will headline Bellator 176, which takes place April 8 at Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy.

Following Bellator 152 last April and Bellator 168 in December, this will be the promotion's third card in Italy.

Carvalho, 30, won the Bellator middleweight title in October 2015, knocking out previously unbeaten champion Brandon Halsey with a vicious body kick. The Brazilian returned seven months later to make his first defense against Manhoef at Bellator 155 in May, and eked out a highly contentious split decision over 25 minutes in an ugly, inactive bout. The champion has not fought since (latest odds).

The 40-year-old Manhoef was scheduled to rematch Carvalho in December, but the bout was canceled due to the champion's injury. Prior to their encounter last May, “No Mercy” knocked out Japanese striking specialist Hisaki Kato in November 2015.

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