Bellator Kickboxing has added a trio of fantastic fights highlighted by a lightweight matchup between Kevin Ross (31-9) and Alessio Arduini (26-14-2). A Middleweight bout pitting Joe Schilling (19-9) against Victorio Lermano (30-7) and a welterweight contest pairing Karim Ghajji (96-13-1) with Luca Novello (22-4-2) have also been added to the action-packed “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” card. The event marks the promotions second visit to Italy this year, as Bellator returns with another thrilling combo-event, featuring both Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing brands on Dec. 10 from the Mandela Forum in Florence.
The MMA portion of the International event is headlined by a Middleweight World Title rematch between current champion Rafael Carvalho (13-1) and Melvin Manhoef (30-13-1, 2 NC). A light heavyweight fight pitting Alessio Sakara (18-11, 2 NC) against Joey Beltran (17-13, 1 NC) will also be featured on the “Bellator 168: Carvalho vs. Manhoef 2” main card.
The “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” card also features a previously announced female flyweight rematch between Denise Kielholtz (45-3) and rival Gloria Peritore (11-1-1) as well as a lightweight bout pitting Italian superstar Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) against Jordan Watson (48-11-2).
At 36 years old, “The Soul Assassin” has strung together one of the most accomplished kickboxing and muay Thai careers in the game, collecting belts in several promotions across multiple divisions. Ross has brought home six career championships, highlighted by the WBC Muay-Thai USA welterweight title, the WBC Muay-Thai International Super-lightweight title and the Lion Fight Super-lightweight title. During his 54-fight career, the Reading, Penn., native has collected notable wins over former champions Malaipet Sasiprapa, Kang En, and more. Ross hopes to add to his unblemished promotional mark, after recording back-to-back victories to begin his tenure with the Bellator Kickboxing brand. Fighting out of Dublin, Calif., Ross returns to Italy for the second time this year, having defeated Matteo Taccini at “Bellator Kickboxing: Torino” in April.
The 32-year-old Schilling has demonstrated his versatile skillset at the highest levels of competition by claiming multiple titles over his 10-year career, including two WBC Muay Thai World Championships, two WBC Muay Thai National Championships, and the MTAA Muay Thai Super-Middleweight National Championship. “Stitch ‘Em Up” continues to be one of the most aggressive fighters in the sport, collecting 11 of his 19 career wins via knockout. The multi-dimensional Schilling has also spent time competing in mixed martial arts, where he was awarded the 2014 Knockout of the Year for a ferocious second round blow that turned the lights out on Melvin Manhoef. Now, the 2013 Glory World Middleweight Tournament Champion Schilling returns to the ring in search of his first win under the newly-founded Bellator Kickboxing umbrella.
Fighting out of Meaux, France, the 10-time World Kickboxing Champion Ghajji will return to Italy after making his Bellator Kickboxing debut in Torino earlier this year. “Gadjetboy” became the first Bellator Kickboxing World Champion with a split decision victory over Mustapha Haida in the Inaugural Bellator Kickboxing Welterweight World Title fight at “Bellator 152.” Dating back to 2014, Ghajji has collected wins in nine of his previous 11 contests, including an eight-fight winning streak over a two-year stint. With 96 career wins under his belt, including 50 knockouts, the 110-fight kickboxing veteran will look to inch closer to the century mark as he prepares to challenge Italian hot shot Luca Novello.
Complete “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence” Card:
Lightweight Feature Fight: Giorgio Petrosyan (82-2-2, 1 NC) vs. Jordan Watson (48-11-2)
Flyweight World Title Fight: Denise Kielholtz (45-3) vs. Gloria Peritore (11-1-1)
Lightweight Feature Fight: Kevin Ross (31-9) vs. Alessio Arduini (26-14-2)
Middleweight Feature Fight: Joe Schilling (19-9) vs. Victorio Lermano (30-7)
Welterweight Feature Fight: Karim Ghajji (96-13-1) vs. Luca Novello (22-4-2)
Updated “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)