Bellator 224 results: Takedowns pace Rafael Carvalho win over Chidi Njokuani
Carvalho (16-3 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) took a unanimous decision from Njokuani (18-7 MMA, 5-3 BMMA) in a fight that featured plenty of kickboxing, muay Thai and dirty boxing – but was settled in large part thanks to takedowns for Carvalho in each of the three rounds. Carvalho, who lost the middleweight title to start a two-fight skid, won with a trio of 29-28 scores.
The 190-pound catchweight fight was the Bellator 224 co-main event at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The main card aired on Paramount and streamed on DAZN following prelims on MMA Junkie.
It took 45 seconds, but the two finally tied up and dirty boxed until Carvalho pushed Njokuani to the fence. They traded positions there and Njokuani looked for knees to the body. But Carvalho landed several punches over the top and to the body despite Njokuani’s Thai clinch. With 90 seconds left, Carvalho tried a kick upstairs that Njokuani blocked with his right arm. They tied up again and tried to trade knees. Just two seconds before the bell, Carvalho was able to drag Njokuani to the canvas for a takedown that likely sealed the round for him.
Njokuani tried a high kick early in the second, but Carvalho pushed past it and threw one of his own. Njokuani tried again and landed, then again, and then again. A minute in, when the two tried to trade kicks, Njokuani got inside and clinched up to try to take Carvalho down. The Brazilian managed to stay on his feet, then finally was able to break away with three minutes left.
A minute later, after another lengthy clinch, Carvalho put Njokuani on the canvas on his back with a takedown. He landed short ground-and-pound – just enough to stay busy. But with a minute left, referee Kerry Hatley thought it wasn’t busy enough and stood them up.
It didn’t take long into the third for the two to tie up again. Eventually, about 100 seconds into the round, Carvalho picked Njokuani up and landed his biggest takedown of the fight with a thudding slam to the canvas. Njokuani got back to his feet with a minute left, but Carvalho quickly dragged him back down for the rest of the fight.
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