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Rafael Carvalho believes Machida’s reputation helped him get the nod at Bellator 213

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The former Bellator middlweight champ feels like Lyoto Machida’s fame was the decisive factor for the judges of their bout at Bellator 213.

Bellator-DAZN Announcement Press Conference Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Bellator MMA

Former Bellator champion Rafael Carvalho believes he was overlooked by the judges due to his opponent’s fame. In a close affair against ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida at Bellator 213, Carvalho felt like he did enough to earn the nod. But, the judges saw it differently, resulting in a split decision win for ‘The Dragon’.

In a interview with Combate, Carvalho made his case that the biggest reason Machida was awarded the win may have been because his name carries more weight than Rafael’s.

“I do believe (Lyoto won the decision),” Carvalho said. “Because of who he is, for his record, because he’s a former champion in another organization. Anyway, I do think those factors might have factored when (the judges were) in doubt. ‘In doubt, let’s pick Lyoto’. But you can’t keep crying over spilled milk, I just need to come back, keep working and wait for the next challenge.”

Although it was a close fight, Carvalho believes he did enough to beat Machida in the first two rounds. With round two, perhaps being the one where he feels Machida got points he didn’t necessarily earn. Two judges gave Machida a 29-28 scorecard, with the third scoring 29-28 for Carvalho.

“I still need to watch the fight, but what I can say is that I won the first round and I may have won the second by a small margin. Lyoto took me down, but he wasn’t effective at any point, so I believe I could have won the second. He win the third, no doubt about it, I can’t take that away from him. But I believe it was two rounds to one. I don’t to talk about it now while emotional, but I don’t know what’s the criteria that those judges use. If they think Lyoto won, that’s good, but if they think he won because that’s good for the company...”

The loss to Machida put Rafael Carvalho (15-3) on a two-fight losing skid. Before Bellator 213, the 32-year-old had been TKO’d by Gegard Mousasi in May. That fight ended a streak of three title defenses, with wins over Melvin Manhoef and Alessio Sakara.