Of the eight lightweights that will complete in the opening round of the season ten tournament tonight, Rodrigo Cavalheiro is the only one to have never fought in Bellator, and that shows when you look at the odds where Cavalheiro is a massive underdog against 22-year-old Marcin Held.
Despite his long odds, Cavalheiro is a fighter that is heading into the bout with a lot of momentum, having finishing nine of his last ten opponents by strikes. The 31-year-old Brazilian also has a decision win over current Bellator featherweight Goiti Yamauchi,
When one examines the reason as to why Cavalheiro has had so much success after being finished twice in his first two years as a professional, the first place to look is the adversity he faced growing up. Cavalheiro was hardened by living without parents in his youth.
“As a child I had to learn to live alone, sometimes without food and without hope, but I believed in myself and got over it in a positive way,” said Cavalheiro. “It made me stronger and gave me the heart it takes to become the next Bellator Lightweight Champion.”
Since maturing, Calvaheiro has found solace in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, but even the sport of MMA isn’t stable, especially on the Brazilian circuit.
“It is very difficult to be a fighter in Brazil. You have to suffer a lot to be recognized,” he said. “The most difficult part is to be able to train hard [and] at the same time having to working all day.”
For the time being, Calvalheiro will no longer have to worry about making a living by fighting in Brazil. Cavalheiro signed a deal with Bellator in early 2014, and his first fight in the promotion puts him in position to achieve a lot of success in a short amount of time.
If he is able to win in his tilt against Held, and then win in his next bouts, ultimately winning the tournament, Cavalheiro could go from a relative unknown in the sport of MMA to a Bellator title challenger. Cavalheiro is more than aware of the potential he has in front of him.
“I feel honored to have Bellator believe in my potential and call me to the lightweight tournament. Being here means I am among the very best in the world, so now it’s my chance to be the best in the world.”
And don’t be mistaken. Rodrigo Cavalheiro is not content with just winning the season ten tournament. He wants to be recognized as one of the best fighters in Mixed Martial Arts.
“I’m going to be the greatest fighter in the history of Bellator,” he said. “I want to show all my technique of strike and to be remembered as a great artist in the history of strikes in MMA.”
If Cavalheiro is the achieve his goals then he must take his next step, which is tonight at Bellator 113 when he takes on Marcin Held in the first round of season ten’s lightweight tournament.