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Viacom’s version of MMA hops back across the pond today for Bellator 200 in London, England. The marquee matchup was supposed to be Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson, but an unfortunate injury forced Cro Cop to withdraw, and no replacement opponent was found for Nelson. The new main event will see Rafael Carvalho try and defend his middleweight belt against MMA mainstay Gegard Mousasi. The co-main slot goes to Michael Page vs. David Rickels, with the undefeated Page taking his first real major step up in competition.
Carvalho will defend his Bellator middleweight title against Gegard Mousasi in the co-main event of Bellator 200. Despite being a title bout, the match-up will take a backseat to Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson II. This isn’t the first time Bellator has done this as Bellator NYC and Bellator 192 had title fights, but they didn’t headline either card.
Still, Carvalho knows he’s in for the most high-profile bout of his professional mixed martial arts career. Mousasi’s run in Strikeforce and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have brought him name recognition. If Carvalho can defeat “The Dreamcatcher” then there is no doubting his legitimacy as a world class middleweight.
Speaking to MMAJunkie.com, Carvalho said he plans to seize the moment:
“It’s where I’ll be able to solidify my entire career. For me, it will be very important to be able to truly leave my mark in the MMA world and for other fighters to see me with different eyes.”
This will be Carvalho’s fourth title defense. He’s successfully defended his gold against Melvin Manhoef twice and most recently knocked out Alessio Sakara for a third defense. Carvalho hasn’t suffered a loss since his first professional bout back in Dec. 2011.