Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will make his Bellator debut at Bellator 210 in Hawaii on December 15 against former Bellator middleweight champ Rafael Carvalho.
Machida(24-8 MMA) signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator in June after fulfilling his contract with the UFC. The UFC made attempts to match Bellator’s offer but Machida opted to stay in Bellator.
“When I came back to the UFC, it was too late because I gave my word to Mr. Coker, and I’m a man of my word,” Machida announced at a news conference in support of Bellator’s new broadcast deal with DAZN.
“I’m at home here. I’m very happy, and I can’t wait to step in the cage and fight again.”
Machida’s next opponent, Rafael Carvalho(15-2 MMA), was the Bellator middleweight champion on a 15-fight winning streak until May when he lost to Gegard Mousasi by TKO, losing the belt in the process.
Carvalho offered to welcome the former champion to the Bellator promotion back in July and now he will get his chance.
”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 210 will be headlined by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, who will be defending her flyweight championship against Valerie Letourneau. Also, Ed Ruth will face Neiman Gracie.