Dublin-based Portuguese featherweight Pedro Carvalho stands on the verge of a dream after just four Bellator fights.
The 25-year-old Carvalho (11-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), who trains out of SBG Ireland, has won all four of his outings under the Bellator banner since his arrival with the promotion back in 2018 and is preparing to challenge Patricio Freire for the featherweight title as part of the promotion’s grand prix tournament.
Looking back through his Bellator wins so far, Carvalho picked out his May 2019 win over Derek Campos as his “biggest moment” to date inside the Bellator cage. The victory not only saw him claim the biggest-name win of his career, it also punched his ticket to the Bellator featherweight grand prix tournament and, eventually, the title shot he’s preparing for right now.
“I never was an option to be in the tournament,” he admitted. “I just needed a name.”
His win over Campos changed all that, but he admitted to being a little starstruck when he found himself facing such a respected veteran inside the Bellator cage.
“I was the first to get in the cage, then he comes,” Carvalho said. “He gets into the cage, and that feeling that it’s on, 1,000 percent focused, just switched off for 10 seconds, and the MMA fan just came and I was like ‘(Expletive), I’m facing Derek Campos! How cool is that! I used to watch him on the telly, and now I’m in front of him. I’m sharing the cage with him!
“That was a special moment for me in Bellator. It was a huge honor for me, and it was a tremendous experience.”
The fight itself saw Carvalho produce an inspired performance to overwhelm Campos with strikes to score a first-round TKO finish. That win saw him included in the bracket in the promotion’s 145-pound grand prix, where he added another notable name to his resume, courtesy of a second-round face-crank submission of Sam Sicilia at Bellator 226.
Now Carvalho is set to face defending featherweight champion Freire in the quarterfinals of the tournament, and he’s waiting patiently for a confirmed date for his rearranged fight as he prepares to experience an even bigger moment on his return to the cage.
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/09/bellator-featherweight-title-challenger-pedro-carvalho-shares-his-biggest-moment