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Knockout artists collide at Bellator 224 as former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho takes on the equally electrifying Chidi Njokuani. Their match takes place at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, on July 12. Both fighters will be eyeing for a knockout as the numbers below suggest.
Bellator appearancesNjokuani made his Bellator debut on Nov. 20, 2015 after spending some time in various promotions, most notably with the Resurrection Fighting Alliance. He got his biggest break when Bellator signed him up and paired with Rickey Rainey for Bellator 146. Njokuani won by decision and followed it up with victories over Thiago Jambo Goncalves, Andre Fialho and Melvin Guillard. Then, he alternated between wins and losses to tally a Bellator record of 5-2.
Carvalho debuted a year earlier, specifically on Sept. 19, 2014, knocking out Brian Rogers in the first round. Having immediately made an impression, he was given a tough task in former professional kickboxer Joe Schilling and won via split decision.
In only his third fight in the promotion, Carvalho found himself gunning for the vacant middleweight championship, which he captured by knocking out Brandon Halsey with a brutal body kick. He defended the title three times before losing it to Gegard Mousasi. The Rio de Janeiro native tried to bounce back in his next fight, but was defeated by Lyoto Machida. He now sports a Bellator record of 6-2.
Wins by knockoutThese heavy-handed middleweights hold 22 stoppages by KO or TKO between them. Twelve of them come from Carvalho, who has only had 18 professional fights. Contrast this with Njokuani, who owns 10 wins by KO or TKO after 24 professional bouts. Carvalho’s most notable victims are Melvin Manhoef and Alessio Sakara. For Njokuani, it’s current UFC welterweight Alan Jouban, whom he dropped and stopped with a body kick.
Wins by submissionOnly three of Carvalho’s triumphs didn’t come by knockout, but none of them was via submission either. Meanwhile, Njokuani has one submission victory, which was a guillotine choke finish of Jack Montgomery at King of the Cage.
First-round finishesCarvalho and Njokuani are proven finishers, with both having an above 60 percent stoppage rate. They also have a knack for finishing fights early when the opportunity presents itself.
Njokuani has finished opponents inside the first round eight times in his career. These are George Cortez, Andrew Moncriefe, Chris Kennedy, Jack Montgomery, Jonathan Harris, John Reedy, LeVon Maynard and Andrea Fialho. As for Carvalho, his six victims include Glauber Valadares, Eduardo Gimenez, Fernando Scherek, Mauri Roque, Brian Rogers and Sakara.