Rafael Carvalho

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Rafael Carvalho
Rafael Carvalho Bellator MMA.png
Carvalho in 2015
BornRafael Carvalho de Souza
(1986-07-27) July 27, 1986 (age 33)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Other namesThe Blessed
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
DivisionMiddleweight (2011–2019)
Light Heavyweight (2019–present)[1]
Reach78 in (198 cm)[2]
StyleMuay Thai
Fighting out ofCampo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
TeamAmerican Top Team (2019–present)[3]
Evolução Thai (formerly)
Madison Team
Siam Team MMA College
Noguchi Team
LA Sports
Years active2011–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout12
By decision4
By knockout1
By submission1
By decision1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Rafael Carvalho de Souza[2] (born July 27, 1986) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist currently competing in the middleweight division of Bellator MMA. He is the former Bellator Middleweight World Champion. As of December 2017, Carvalho is tied with Alexander Shlemenko for most title defenses in the division's history. He also won the Smash Fight middleweight championship in 2013.[4]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

First loss and rebound[edit]

Carvalho made his professional mixed martial arts debut against Julio Cesar Araujo Fernandes on December 17, 2011 at Samurai FC 6. Carvalho lost the fight via submission in the first round. Following the loss, Carvalho went on a nine-fight unbeaten streak that included a unanimous decision win over Gustavo Machado that won him the Smash Fight middleweight championship, before signing with Bellator MMA.[5]

Bellator MMA[edit]

Road to Bellator middleweight title[edit]

Carvalho was expected to make his promotional debut against fellow newcomer Anthony Ruiz on September 19, 2014 at Bellator 125.[6] However, after an injury to Brett Cooper, Carvalho stepped up and faced Brian Rogers in the co-main event.[7] Carvalho won the back-and-forth fight via TKO in the first round.[8]

Carvalho faced kickboxing veteran Joe Schilling on April 10, 2015 at Bellator 136. He won the fight by split decision.[9]

Bellator middleweight champion[edit]

Carvalho faced Brandon Halsey in the main event at Bellator 144 for the vacant Bellator Middleweight Championship on October 23, 2015. Carvalho stopped Halsey via a body kick in the second round in an upset. Halsey dominated the first round on the ground; almost finishing Carvalho with an arm-triangle choke. With the comeback victory, Carvalho became the first fighter to defeat Halsey.[10]

Carvalho made his first defense of his title against Melvin Manhoef on May 20, 2016 at Bellator 155. He won via a controversial split decision to retain the Bellator Middleweight Championship. Bellator announcer Jimmy Smith called it one of the worst decisions he had ever seen; likewise 5 of 5 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Manhoef.[11]

An immediate rematch with Manhoef was scheduled to take place at Bellator 168, on December 10, 2016.[12] However, Carvalho pulled out of the fight due to injury.[13] The rematch eventually took place on April 8, 2017 at Bellator 176. Carvalho won the bout via knockout due to a head kick in the fourth round.[14] Following the event, Carvalho was fined $5,000 by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) for unsportsmanlike conduct, due to jumping out the cage in his post-fight celebration.[15]

In a May 2017 interview with MMAfighting.com, Carvalho expressed interest in a bout with newly signed welterweight Rory MacDonald after the two exchanged words on Twitter. In addition, he hoped to make his next title defense in July or August.[16]

In his third title defense, Carvalho faced Alessio Sakara at Bellator 190 on December 9, 2017.[17][18] He won the fight via knockout in the first round. As a result, Carvalho tied the record for most title defenses, held by Alexander Shlemenko, in the divisions' history (three).[4]

In his fourth title defense, Carvalho faced Gegard Mousasi on May 25, 2018 at Bellator 200 in London.[19] This was the last fight on his contract.[20] He lost the fight via technical knock out in round one.[21]

Return to contender status[edit]

On September 12, it was announced that Carvalho had re-signed with the Bellator MMA promotion. It was also announced that Carvalho is expected to face promotional newcomer and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida on December 15 at Bellator 213.[22] On weigh-in day, Carvalho missed weight, weighing in at 186.5 pounds, over the maximum non-title limit of 186.0 pounds. The bout proceeded at Catchweight and Carvalho was fined 20% of his purse. Carvalho was defeated by split decision.[23]

Carvalho faced Chidi Njokuani at Bellator 224 in a 190 lb Catchweight bout on July 12, 2019.[24] He won the fight by unanimous decision. After the fight with Njokuani, Carvalho announced that he will be moving up to the light heavyweight division.[1]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
19 matches 16 wins 3 losses
By knockout 12 1
By submission 0 1
By decision 4 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 16–3 Chidi Njokuani Decision (unanimous) Bellator 224 July 12, 2019 3 5:00 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States Catchweight bout (190 lbs).
Loss 15–3 Lyoto Machida Decision (split) Bellator 213 December 15, 2018 3 5:00 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States Catchweight bout (186.5 lbs); Carvalho missed weight.
Loss 15–2 Gegard Mousasi TKO (punches) Bellator 200 May 25, 2018 1 3:35 London, England Lost the Bellator Middleweight World Championship.
Win 15–1 Alessio Sakara KO (punches and elbow) Bellator 190 December 9, 2017 1 0:44 Florence, Italy Defended the Bellator Middleweight World Championship.
Win 14–1 Melvin Manhoef KO (head kick) Bellator 176 April 8, 2017 4 3:15 Torino, Italy Defended the Bellator Middleweight World Championship.
Win 13–1 Melvin Manhoef Decision (split) Bellator 155 May 20, 2016 5 5:00 Boise, Idaho, United States Defended the Bellator Middleweight World Championship.
Win 12–1 Brandon Halsey TKO (body kick) Bellator 144 October 23, 2015 2 1:42 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Won the vacant Bellator Middleweight World Championship.
Win 11–1 Joe Schilling Decision (split) Bellator 136 April 10, 2015 3 5:00 Irvine, California, United States
Win 10–1 Brian Rogers TKO (punches) Bellator 125 September 19, 2014 1 3:06 Fresno, California, United States
Win 9–1 Mauri Roque TKO (knee to the body and punches) Talent MMA Circuit 9: Sao Jose dos Pinhais 2014 May 10, 2014 1 2:47 São José dos Pinhais, Brazil
Win 8–1 Sergio Souza TKO (knee to the body and punches) Iron Fight Combat 4 September 7, 2013 3 2:15 São José dos Pinhais, Brazil
Win 7–1 Gustavo Machado Decision (unanimous) Smash Fight 2 July 13, 2013 3 5:00 Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil Won the Smash Fight middleweight championship.
Win 6–1 Fernando Scherek TKO (punches) Adventure Fighters Tournament 4 March 9, 2013 1 0:39 Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Win 5–1 Kaue Dudus TKO (punches) Samurai FC 9: Water vs. Fire December 15, 2012 2 3:48 Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Win 4–1 Eduardo Gimenez TKO (punches) Empire Promotions: Empire FC October 20, 2012 1 0:55 Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Win 3–1 Luiz Cado Simon TKO (punches) Forca Jovem Parana: Nocaute ao Crack 2 August 25, 2012 3 N/A Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Win 2–1 Glauber Valadares TKO (punches) Predador FC 21 August 11, 2012 1 2:52 Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
Win 1–1 Flavio Rodrigo Magon TKO (punches) Adrenaline Fight 4 March 10, 2012 2 2:42 Apucarana, Paraná, Brazil
Loss 0–1 Julio Cesar Araujo Fernandes Submission (anaconda choke) Samurai FC 6 December 17, 2011 1 N/A Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Guilherme Cruz (July 26, 2019). "Rafael Carvalho done fighting at middleweight, wants to 'test' himself at light heavyweight". mmafighting.com.
  2. ^ a b "Rafael Carvalho – MMA Fighter Page – Tapology". tapology.com. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  3. ^ Guilherme Cruz (July 12, 2019). "Former champion Rafael Carvalho no longer obsessed with Bellator belt". mmafighting.com.
  4. ^ a b Mike Bohn (December 10, 2017). "Bellator 190 post-event facts: Rafael Carvalho Bellator's most successful champ – by a long shot". mmajunkie.com.
  5. ^ Staff (September 9, 2014). "Brett Cooper out, Brian Rogers gets third opponent: Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 125". mmajunkie.com.
  6. ^ Staff (August 29, 2014). "Bellator 125 lineup complete with eight fights on preliminary card". mmajunkie.com.
  7. ^ C.J. Tuttle (September 9, 2014). "Brett Cooper suffers foot injury; Brian Rogers to fight Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 125". sherdog.com.
  8. ^ Josh Sanchez (September 19, 2014). "Bellator 125 results: Rafael Carvalho TKOs Brian Rogers in Round 1". fansided.com.
  9. ^ Tristen Critchfield (April 10, 2015). "Will Brooks Outpoints Dave Jansen, Retains Lightweight Title in Bellator 136 Headliner". sherdog.com.
  10. ^ Matt Erickson (October 23, 2015). "Bellator 144 results: Rafael Carvalho kick stuns Brandon Halsey to win 185 title". mmajunkie.com.
  11. ^ "Rafael Carvalho def. Melvin Manhoef". MMA Decisions. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  12. ^ Staff (October 7, 2016). "Rafael Carvalho vs. Melvin Manhoef title rematch headlines Bellator 168 in Italy". mmajunkie.com.
  13. ^ Mike Bohn (December 3, 2016). "Injury knocks champ Rafael Carvalho from Bellator 168 main event vs. Melvin Manhoef". mmajunkie.com.
  14. ^ Dann Stupp (April 8, 2017). "Bellator 176 results: Champ Rafael Carvalho flattens Melvin Manhoef with big head kick". mmajunkie.com.
  15. ^ Guilherme Cruz (April 10, 2017). "Rafael Carvalho fined for jumping out of cage after Bellator win over Melvin Manhoef". mmafighting.com.
  16. ^ Guilherme Cruz (May 30, 2017). "Bellator middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho issues warning to Rory MacDonald". mmafighting.com.
  17. ^ Nolan King (June 7, 2017). "Rafael Carvalho Set to Defend Bellator Middleweight Strap in Italy". mma-today.com.
  18. ^ Guilherme Cruz (July 12, 2017). "Bellator champ Rafael Carvalho meets Alessio Sakara in Italy, hopes for Gegard Mousasi showdown in early 2018". mmafighting.com.
  19. ^ Sherdog.com. "Carvalho-Mousasi Title Bout, Page-Rickels Booked for Bellator 200 in London". Sherdog. Retrieved 2018-02-27.
  20. ^ "Carvalho May Leave After Bellator 200". fightsports.tv.
  21. ^ "Mousasi takes Bellator title with 1st-round TKO". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  22. ^ "Lyoto Machida Debuts Against Former Champion Rafael Carvalho at Bellator Hawaii". mmafighting.com.
  23. ^ "Bellator 213 Results: Macfarlane vs Létourneau". mmafighting.com. December 15, 2018.
  24. ^ Guilherme Cruz (May 27, 2019). "Rafael Carvalho vs. Chidi Njokuani targeted for Bellator 224". mmafighting.com.
  25. ^ "MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for October is a ridiculous shot to the gut". 31 October 2015.

External links[edit]