The second-to-last scheduled Bellator card scheduled for 2017 takes place on Saturday from a very unusual location. A middleweight world title fight match pitting Rafael Carvalho against Alessio Sakara will serve as the main event of Bellator 190. Here’s a look at the main card and check back for MyBookie for the latest Bellator odds.
Bellator 190 Betting Preview, Picks & Predictions
When: Saturday, 8 PM ET
Where: Nelson Mandela Forum, Florence, Italy
Live Stream: Bellator Live
Middleweight Title Fight: Rafael Carvalho (14-1) vs. Alessio Sakara (19-11, 2 NC)
Carvalho makes the third defense of his title against long-time UFC veteran and Italian native Sakara. Carvalho hasn’t lost an MMA bout since his pro debut in December 2011. The Brazilian has ridden a 14-fight winning streak to the Bellator 185-pound title, capturing the vacant crown by stopping Brandon Halsey with a liver kick in October 2015, then successfully defending his title twice against Melvin Manhoef. After a contentious and disputed split decision over Manhoef in May 2016, Carvalho won the rematch in much more convincing fashion this past April by knocking “No Mercy” out with a head kick.
Sakara is best known for his 15 UFC appearances from 2005-2013. While his octagon run ended with four consecutive losses, “Legionarius” has experienced a rejuvenation in his post-UFC career, boasting a three-fight winning streak that has seen Sakara earn all three via knockout. In 2016, the American Top Team rep knocked out Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran on Italian Bellator cards to earn his title bid. Some believe that Sakara doesn’t deserve a title bout. The big reason this is happening is because this card takes place in Italy. Bellator needs an Italian in the main event, and what bigger name is there in Italian MMA than Sakara? He’s one of only a few Italians to fight in the UFC. Even fewer have had the limited success Sakara had inside the octagon.
Lightweight Bout: Brandon Girtz (14-7) vs. Luka Jelcic (10-2)
Girtz enters on a three-fight losing streak. In late 2016, Girtz had a three-fight win streak snapped when he lost to Adam Piccolotti at Bellator 165. He then fought at a catchweight of 165 pounds and lost once more to Fernando Gonzalez. In his last outing, Girtz had an arguable fight of the year contender vs. Derek Campos back in July. It ended in Round 2 when the doctor ruled him unable to continue due to a forehead gash. Girtz hasn’t earned a victory in over two years and that came against Campos at Bellator 146 in November 2015.
Croatia’s Jelcic is the current FFC Lightweight Champion. He’s on a four-fight win streak that feature four first-round finishes. Last time out, Jelcic most recently needed just 75 seconds to stop Roberto Pastuch with elbows to defend his FFC title. He makes his Bellator debut. Lightweight is a deep division for Bellator, but a win definitely helps push Jelcic as more than just a fighter who appears when Bellator goes abroad.
Women’s Flyweight Bout: Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4, 1 NC) vs. Alejandra Lara (6-1)
Ovchynnikova has won two of three under the Bellator MMA banner, defeating both Karla Benitez and Helen Harper. Ovchynnikova has only suffered a single defeat in the last three years and that came to Rebecca Ruth at Bellator 150. Lara is also making her Bellator MMA debut in this event and the competitor is also fighting for the first time in nearly two years. Lara is a veteran of the Striker Fighting Championship promotion, where she holds a pair of victories over Paola Calderon.
Lightweight Bout: Mihail Nica (6-0) vs. Carlos Miranda (10-3)
Miranda is a Brazilian who is on a four-fight winning streak since a loss to Eduardo Garvon in September 2014. Miranda last fought in March in a rematch against Francisco Cylderland Lima da Silva and won by split decision after previously winning by first-round TKO. Nica made his Bellator debut in April and beat Samba Coulibaly by first-round submission (Anaconda choke). Nica could be a guy to watch with a victory, but he hasn’t really fought anyone of note yet.
Expert Predictions & Bellator 190 Picks
Carvalho wins handily. Also winning are Jelcic, Ovchynnikova and Nica.