SAN JOSE, Calif. – Portuguese featherweight contender Pedro Carvalho kicked off his Bellator featherweight grand prix campaign with an impressive submission finish of respected veteran Sam Sicilia, but admitted he took away a lot more from the contest than just a win.
Carvalho (11-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) forced the tap from Sicilia (16-10 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) with a second-round rear-naked choke at Bellator 226 to claim the victory and punch his ticket to the quarterfinals of the grand prix tournament, but he revealed it was also a performance that convinced his coach John Kavanagh to award him his Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt.
“When I fought in Italy last December and I got the flying guillotine I went to my coach John Kavanagh and I was like: ‘Hey coach! I think I deserve a purple belt after that submission,’ and he was like, ‘I’m not impressed!’” Carvalho said.
“We’ve been kidding back and forward, and today in the hotel he was expecting a knockout, but I said ‘What about the submission? If I get the submission, can I get the purple belt?’ He was like, ‘Hmmm … I’ll think about it.’ And, as soon as the fight was over he came to me and was like: ‘Congratulations, you’re a purple belt now.’ I’m pretty happy with it.”
Carvalho has impressed with his performances inside the Bellator cage, with his victory in San Jose giving him his fourth win, and third straight finish, as a Bellator fighter. But, aside from the inside-the-distance win, the 24-year-old said he was happy to show that he can be dangerous in all facets of the game.
“I’m a well-rounded fighter,” he said. “Every time I go to a fight I don’t limit myself to an idea of (how to) finish my opponent. I go out there (and) I can knock him out, I can submit him, I can dominate him, I can go three fives, it doesn’t matter how many rounds it is.
“That was my main goal, to prove here tonight that I could fight with my opponent whenever (or) wherever in the ring it is – standup, grappling, it doesn’t matter. That was my main goal tonight, to prove that I’m well, well rounded.”
His composed, controlled performance also earned plaudits from one of his rivals, reigning two-division Bellator champion Patricio Freire. The Dublin-based athlete said he was happy to earn respect from the biggest name in the division, but also warned that eventually he plans to take “Pitbull’s” title and win the tournament.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he said. “I have respect for all the contestants in this tournament. They all deserve respect because we’re talking about the best guys that Bellator can get. They are all fighters with proven skills and they’re all warriors, so much respect for them.
“But, without a doubt, one of the guys I respect the most is the champion because, things aside, he’s fought them all. He was in wars with them all. He’s a double champ, so in my opinion he’s a true champion that deserves respect.
“But, like I said before, I’m here to take what he has, so he’s on my line. But until then, I really appreciate he thinks that. I’ll see his fight on the 28th, and then we’ll see about that.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Pedro Carvalho happy to earn respect, and BJJ purple belt, after Bellator 226 victory