Few people thought Rafael Carvalho was capable of claiming the middleweight title at Bellator 144. Despite being undefeated in his last 10 bouts, plenty believed former champion Brandon Halsey would be too much for the Rio de Janeiro native.
He wasn’t, and it only took Carvalho six minutes and 42 seconds to prove it to all the folks inside Uncasville, Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. He stopped the heavy favorite via TKO with a crushing liver kick that sent Halsey collapsing to the mat in the second round.
It wasn’t all good for Carvalho, he was seemingly close to being submitted by an arm triangle early in the first round. He’d survive the submission attempt, but would go on to lose the round in decisive fashion to Halsey, who proved to be the better grappler in this main event.
Originally scheduled to play host to two title fights, Bellator’s October event was stripped down to one after bantamweight title contender Eduardo Dantas was injured and forced to withdraw from his rematch with former training partner and 135-pound champion Marcos Galvao.
Instead, the promotion moved full steam ahead with a middleweight title matchup between former middleweight titleholder Halsey, who was only the “former” champion coming in due to a failed attempt at making the 185-pound limit in his first title defense against Kendall Grove at Bellator 137 in May. He defeated Grove via fourth-round TKO. Friday’s loss to Carvalho marks the first defeat of his three-year career.
Also featured on the card was fast-rising welterweight Michael Page, who defeated Charlie Ontiveros via first-round TKO.
Results for the event are as follows:
Undercard (Online; 7 p.m. ET)
- Kevin Haley def. Mike Zichelle unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28)
- Ilya Kotau vs. Kemran Lachinov
- Sam Watford def. TJ Hepburn via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
- Keenan Raymond vs. Damien Trites
- Billy Giovanella def. Brandon Polcare via submission (Round 1, 2:19)
- Kin Moy def. Walter Smith-Cotito (Round 3, 3:53)
- Marius Enache def. Pete Rogers Jr. via submission (Round 2, 2:37)
- Matt Secor def. Jeremie Holloway via submission (Round 2, 4:54)
- Matt Bessette def. Kevin Roddy via submission (Round 1, 3:47)
Main card (Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET)
- Michael Page def. Charlie Ontiveros via TKO (Round 1, 3:20)
- Goiti Yamauchi def. Isao Kobayashi via submission (Round 3, 3:50)
- Brennan Ward def. Dennis Olson via TKO (Round 1, 4:37)
- Rafael Carvalho def. Brandon Halsey via TKO (Round 2, 1:42)