October 25, 2020

Lyoto Machida debuts against former champion Rafael Carvalho at Bellator Hawaii

MMAFighting.com
Lyoto Machida will make his Bellator debut in December.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lyoto Machida has a date and opponent set for his Bellator debut.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion will meet ex-Bellator middleweight titleholder Rafael Carvalho at Bellator’s Hawaii debut on Dec. 15, multiple sources confirmed to MMA Fighting following a report by ESPN.

The fight card takes place at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.

Machida (24-8) parted ways with the UFC on a two-fight winning streak, defeating Eryk Andersvia decision in February and scoring a stunning front kick knockout over Vitor Belfort in May. He also holds a victory over current Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi.

Carvalho (15-2) had his 15-fight winning streak snapped by Mousasi in May, losing the 185-pound belt in the process. The Curitiba-based fighter was 6-0 under the Bellator banner prior to the first TKO defeat of his MMA career.

Speaking with MMA Fighting in July, Carvalho volunteered to welcome Machida to the Bellator cage.

”He’s a counter striker, but it’s a double-edged sword because I’m also a counter striker,” Carvalho said. “It would be an interesting fight and anything could happen. Like Mike Tyson once said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

Bellator’s first trip to Hawaii will be headlined by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending her flyweight championship against Valerie Letourneau. Ed Ruth vs. Neiman Gracie is also set for the event.