Rafael Carvalho’s first light heavyweight bout will be against one of the top contenders in the division.
The former Bellator middleweight champion faces Vadim Nemkov (10-2) at the promotion’s upcoming debut in Milan, Italy, officials announced Friday. This matchup will headline the Bellator 230 portion of the event, which will air on tape-delay in the U.S. on Paramount Network the evening of Oct. 12.
Carvalho (16-3) is moving up to 205 pounds for the first time in the wake of back-to-back losses to Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi, the latter setback costing him the Bellator middleweight title. He bounced back with a win over Chidi Njokuani in a 190-pound catchweight bout in July and now he looks to vault right into the light heavyweight title picture against Nemkov, a protege of Fedor Emelianenko who is 3-0 in the Bellator cage with wins over former champions Phil Davis and Liam McGeary.
Bellator Milan, the fifth event of the Bellator European Series that has included recent trips to London and Dublin, features Melvin Manhoef (31-14-1, 2 NC) fighting Yannick Bahati (9-4, 1 NC) in a light heavyweight main event. A previously announced light heavyweight bout between Alessio Sakara and Canaan Grigsby will also be part of the lineup. This portion of the show will stream live on the Bellator app for U.S. viewers at 5 p.m. ET.
Also airing from Milan on the Bellator app at 11 a.m. ET in the U.S. will be a Bellator Kickboxing show headlined by featherweight champion Gabriel Varga (17-6) defending his title against Italy’s Cristian Faustino (48-18).
See the updated Oct. 12 Milan lineup below:
Bellator 230 (Paramount Network, 9 p.m. ET - tape delay)
Rafael Carvalho vs. Vadim Nemkov
Bellator Milan (Bellator app, 5 p.m. ET)
Melvin Manhoef vs. Yannick Bahati
Alessio Sakara vs. Canaan Grigsby
Andrea Fusi vs. Walter Pugliesi
Bellator Kickboxing 12 (Bellator app, 11 a.m. ET)
Gabriel Varga vs. Cristian Faustino
Chingiz Allazov vs. Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee
Enderson Bonat vs. Kebrom Neguse