TORINO, ITALY. (April 22, 2016) – Italy’s largest indoor arena, The Pala Alpitour was packed with over 13,000 fans for the historic, inaugural “Bellator Kickboxing: Torino” event. The kickoff event was one for the ages with fierce competitors making a name for themselves with their world-class kickboxing on display. The card aired tonight on SPIKE through a delayed broadcast following “Bellator 153: Koreshkov vs. Henderson.”
Melvin Manhoef (37-13) was upset by Milan’s Alexandru Negrea (9-2) via decision in the evening’s main event. Negrea, also known as “The Volcano,” erupted in the second round, scoring a knockdown that forced an eight-count for Manhoef. The closely contested bout resulted in a decision victory for the Romanian-born fighter (30-25, 29-26, 29-26).
Mustapha Haida (40-5-2) and Karim Ghajji (96-12) battled it out for five hard-fought, exciting rounds of action for the ISKA and Bellator Kickboxing World Titles. At the culmination of the bout, France’s Ghajji emerged victorious with the scorecards reading (50-44, 50-44, 46-48).
Los Angeles native Raymond Daniels (11-3) has a knack for producing highlight-reel finishes, and he was back at it again during the “Bellator Kickboxing: Torino” event, flooring Francesco Moricca (15-3-1) with a spinning heel liver kick just 30 seconds into round one.
Here is the answer to a future trivia question: Veronica Vernocchi (31-7-1) was the first fighter to ever step into a Bellator Kickboxing ring. Denise Kielholtz (44-2), however, was all business from the very beginning. The Dutch striker made her historic walk to the ring to Rihanna’s hit song, “B*tch Better Have my Money,” and she fought as though her opponent showed up with empty pockets, winning a decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 28-29). With the win, Kielholtz became the first fighter to have their hand raised in a Bellator Kickboxing contest.
Bellator MMA is a leading Mixed Martial Arts organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 500 million homes worldwide in over 140 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on Spike, the MMA television leader. Bellator MMA is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations. Bellator is based in Santa Monica, California and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.
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Carlo Di Blasi created Oktagon in 1996. At its beginning the show was dedicated to free fight, the name that was given initially to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Other disciplines such as Kickboxing, Muay Thai and Savate were gradually added from the early 2000’s onwards. During the last 20 years Oktagon has reached a huge popularity, both in Italy and abroad, creating many superstars in the process including Bellator welterweight Paul Daley as well as The Petrosyan brothers (Giorgio and Armen), Robin Van Roosmalen, Valentijn Overeem, Rico Verhoeven and Artem Levin.