Bellator 245: Rafael Carvalho hopes for quick turnaround with win over Alex Polizzi

Rafael Carvalho is eager to get back to his winning ways.

Carvalho (16-4 MMA, 7-3 BMMA) is currently enduring the worst stretch of his career, having dropped three of his past four fights.

After losing his first pro bout, Carvalho won 15 straight en route to capturing the Bellator middleweight title. He successfully defended his belt three times before getting dethroned by Gegard Mousasi in May 2018.

He went on to miss weight against Lyoto Machida before a split decision loss, then picked up a win over Chidi Njokuani in a 190-pound catchweight bout. That prompted a move up to light heavyweight to take on current Bellator light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov, and though things didn’t go his way, Carvalho instantly felt the difference of competing at a weight class above.

“My change in weight classes has been good for my body,” Carvalho told MMA Junkie. “I’m not suffering as much, compared to when I was making it down to middleweight. That was a big factor in my decision. Now I’m feeling great. My stamina is much improved during my training sessions. I see more advantages than disadvantages in moving up in weight.”

Carvalho will look to get back to the win column when he faces undefeated former LFA 205-pound champ Alex Polizzi at Bellator 245, which takes place Sept. 11 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

“He’s very explosive,” Carvalho said. “He comes from a wrestling background, so he has a sharp grappling game. He’s undefeated and a former LFA champ. He’s not undefeated by accident. He has good skills. I expect a difficult fight, as always. I don’t get to face any easy opponents. I only visualize my arm being raised at the end. I can’t say if it will be by KO, submission, or by decision. I’ll fight. I’ll look to exploit any openings he gives me. I think his weak spot could be his striking, which tends to be difficult for most grapplers. Look for me to score another victory.

“Every career has its highs and lows,” he continued, “Even the best go through some rough spots. And no phase lasts forever. I’ll keep working hard to put distance between myself and my recent losses, as quickly as possible. I believe that with this next fight I’ll be starting a new winning streak.”

Carvalho will look to make up for lost time and hopes that with a win, he’s able to compete one more time before the end of the year.

“I want to win well,” Carvalho said. “With a win, I’d like to fight again as soon as possible, perhaps in December. That way, I can keep up my fighting rhythm. Who knows – with two or three good wins, I may be able to land a title shot. But I’m taking it one step at a time. I’m only looking at my current opponent now. Then we’ll see what’s next.”

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