On Saturday December 9th, Bellator MMA went over to Europe in Florence, Italy. In the main event, Bellator Middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho squares off against Italian fighter Alessio Sakara. We'll cover this brief but exciting card here.
Rafael Carvalho (Win) vs Alessio Sakara
This fight did not last long. In the opening rounds, Sakara pressured forward early, but Carvalho struck first and this was the instant turning point of the fight. He lands a hard body kick and as Sakara lowers his hands in reaction to it, Carvalho follows up with a hard right hand that buckles Sakara, and as he backs up, Carvalho chases. He runs up and almost lands a flying knee, then throws a quick left and then lands a devastating elbow that drops Sakara to the canvas, hard. Carvalho drops down and follows up with two bombing straight ground and pound punches, and Referee Dan Miragliotta steps in and stops the bout. Carvalho looked straight up scary this fight.
Rafael Carvalho def. Alessio Sakara via R1 KO.
Lena Ovchynnikova vs Alejandra Lara (Win)
Now we have a women's flyweight contest between Ukrainian Lena Ovchynnikova and Colombian Alejandra Lara.
To start out in the first round, both women start out tentatively but soon start exchanging strikes cautiously. Lara gets caught with a right hook, and then as she backs up looks for a takedown on Ovchynnikova. Ovchynnikova tries the scarf hold reversal, but Lara is able to defend it and land the takedown on top, into side control.
After dropping down some elbows and punches from here, she moves to pass into mount. Ovchynnikova defends from below, trying to keep Lara from posturing up. Lara throws right hands to the body to stay active, and soon she looks to isolate the arm. Ovchynnikova uses this opportunity to escape and she steps over into full mount towardsthe end of the round. Lara is able to scramble and get to half guard, and is able to defend well as Ovchynnikova isn't able to land much in the final moments of round 1.
In the second round, both women clinch up early and they struggle for position against the fence. Lara is able to eventually work the takedown, and then works into Ovchynnikova's half guard. She begins grinding her head on Ovchynnikova, and is warned, and Referee Todd Anderson decides to break up the action to stand them at round 2:15 on the clock.
Lara attempts a spinning backfist, and Ovchynnikova lands a good counter right, then a follow up punch behind that. Ovchynnikova then goes for a kick, but Lara is able to catch it and take her down again. Ovchynnikova does a good job of locking down Lara and forces another stand up due to inactivity. Now Ovchynnikova goes for the takedown and Lara reverses it, taking Ovchynnikova's back and getting some punches in before the round ends.
To begin the third round, more tentativeness before they start exchanging punches about 40 seconds in. Ovchynnikova keeps going for the same punch combo, then Lara times her and goes for the takedown. Ovchynnikova defends for a moment, but is forced down to her knees and Lara takes her back once again.
Lara goes to work from here and begins landing hard punches from the back. As Ovchynnikova tries to stand, Lara flattens her out and starts landing more strikes from here. Lara begins looking for the choke, and keeps Ovchynnikova controlled and flattened with her hooks. Lara finally gets her arm under the chin, and locks in the rear naked choke. Ovchynnikova has nothing else in response and taps out to Lara.
Alejandra Lara def. Lena Ovchynnikova via R3 Submission.
Brandon Girtz (Win) vs. Luka Jelcic
In this lightweight matchup, Brandon Girtz is looking to get back in the win column after dropping his last 3 fights in tough losses. He faces off against SBG gym product, the Croatian Luka Jelcic, who makes his Bellator debut.
In the first round, Jelcic pressed forward early and backed up Girtz, but Girtz was able to land a nice right hand in response. They clinch and fight for position, but then separate. Girtz continues to throw his hands heavily, they clinch once again. After separating again, Girtz tags Jelcic and backs him up. Jelcic backs up and gets dropped with some hard punches from Girtz as he does, and after Girtz briefly follows up, the fight is waved off and Jelcic wrestles with the referee as he's so rocked.
Brandon Girtz def. Luka Jelcic via R1 KO.
Mihail Nica vs Carlos Miranda (Win)
In the first fight of the evening, 6-0 Moldovan fighter Mihail Nica takes on Brazilian up and comer Carlos Miranda, who makes his Bellator debut. In the first round, Nica throws a few kicks early. Miranda closes the distance, and Nica clinches with him. Nica lands some knees and Miranda gets dropped for a moment, but gets back up.
Nica swings heavily, and Miranda then grabs a thai clinch and throws knees of his own. He then is able to trip Nica and find the takedown in the middle of the cage. Nica tries to look for an arm bar but can't find one, and Miranda lands some hard hammerfists on him. Now Miranda begins posturing up in Nica's guard and he starts landing some heavy elbows to the jaw of Nica. Finally Nica pushes off Miranda, but Miranda goes to leg kicks on the downed Nica. Nica stands at the end of the round and the bell sounds.
In the second round, Nica comes out strong with a spinning back kick followed by a right hand, but Miranda comes back with a thai clinch and lands hard knees. He takes down Nica once again and passes to mount early on. Miranda uses all sorts of strikes on top, and he is finding great success with punches and elbows.
Nica takes tremendous punishment on the bottom, and he finally sweeps Miranda after about a minute, and Miranda almost finds an arm bar in the process. They get up and clinch against the fence, and Miranda accidentally knees Nica in the groin. After a pause, referee Dan Miragliotta resumes the fight and Nica throws a spinning backfist. Miranda once again stays wary and takes down Nica after clinching. Miranda finishes the round on top once more, and lands good strikes before the bell sounds.
Now in third and final round, Nica comes out striking first like he has all fight, and lands a hard left hook early on. Miranda clinches again and goes behind Nica for the standing rear waist lock, and asNica tries to reverse it into a guillotine he fails. Miranda ends up back on top in half guard, and lands more hard elbows down on Nica.
Miranda continues the punches and Nica re establishes his full guard, trying to defend and not take too much damage as the fight wears on. Nica is now throwing strikes from the bottom in desperation, also he tries for an arm bar in the final seconds, but Miranda is dominating on top and won't succumb to any late submissions from the worn out Nica. He pounds out his opponent as best as he can until the final bell.
Miranda won by unanimous decision in R3.