ITALY’S OWN PIETRO CAPPELLI LOOKS TO DEFEND HOME TURF IN LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT WITH PHILIPE LINS DURING MMA PORTION OF ‘BELLATOR 168’
MIDDLEWEIGHT BOUT PITTING JOHN SALTER AGAINST CLAUDIO ANNICCHIARICO ADDED TO MAIN CARD OF BELLATOR MMA’S RETURN TO ITALY
SANTA MONICA, CALIF (November 1, 2016) – A light heavyweight bout pitting Philipe Lins (10-1) against Pietro Cappelli (2-1) and a middleweight fight between John Salter (12-3) and Claudio Annicchiarico (1-4) have been added to “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2,” which will feature both Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing brands emanating from the Mandela Forum in Florence on Dec. 10.
The eveningis highlighted by a main event middleweight world title rematch pitting Rafael Carvalho (13-1) against Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC). In addition, Italy’s own Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) and Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) will duke it out in a light heavyweight feature fight. “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” will air on SPIKE at 4pm ET/PT.
A native of Florence, Italy, Cappelli has made an immediate splash in MMA, earning consecutive victories following his professional debut in 2015. Cappelli’s first career win came at the expense of Andrzej Kulik, when the 32-year-old delivered a brutal first round knockout. He then parlayed the emphatic victory with another first round finish, displaying his noteworthy ground game with a keylock submission just one minute and one second into the bout. With a noticeable message reading “unscarred” across his stomach, the Italian competitor prepares to dive in head first with a challenging matchup against the veteran Lins in his Bellator MMA debut.
The 31-year-old Lins will enter the cage for the 12th time in his career and fifth since making his Bellator MMA debut in 2014. Hailing from Brazil, Lins began his professional career on a nine-fight winning streak, finishing opponents in seven of the victories. “Monstro” has recorded a trio of significant victories since joining the Scott Coker-led promotion, including two first round finishes and his most recent knockout win over fellow Brazilian competitor Guilherme Viana at “Bellator 159: Caldwell vs. Taimanglo.” Lins hopes to build off of his big win and silence a crowd that will be heavily in favor of his Italian opponent Cappelli.
Fresh off of his first career victory, a first round knockout over Ilyrian Hoxhay, the 32-year-old Annicchiarico looks to continue his success when he enters the cage for the first time under the direction of Bellator MMA. The Italian middleweight will face a difficult first test in Salter, a 15-fight veteran that hasn’t been defeated since 2012. With a pair of submission defeats to Salter’s name, look for Annicchiarico to take the fight to the ground and grind it out there.
The former Strikeforce competitor Salter will make his third appearance under the Bellator MMA banner, after recording victories in his first two bouts with the promotion. He is riding a recent string of success, having won four consecutive contests and seven of his past eight. Over his seven-year career, the 31-year-old Nashville, Tenn., native has collected a dozen professional victories, recording finishes in all. With nine of his 12 career wins coming in the opening round of action, Salter is known to be one of the quickest strikers in the division and most recently finished former middleweight champion Brandon Halsey.
Complete “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” Card:
Middleweight World Title Bout: Rafael Carvalho (13-1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC)
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) vs. Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC)
Light Heavyweight Feature Fight: Philipe Lins (10-1) vs. Pietro Cappelli (2-1)
Middleweight Feature Fight: John Salter (12-3) vs. Claudio Annicchiarico (1-4)
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