bruno-carvalho-1.jpgHe almost made it to 145 pounds. But alas, 149 was where he wound up.

Bruno Carvalho still managed to earn a split-decision win in his most recent fight, which came this past September against Maicon Bastos in Brazil, but he’s headed back to lightweight as he makes his Bellator debut this week.

“I feel great at this weight,” Carvalho told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I’m excited for the fight and plan to put on a show.”

Carvalho (8-2 MMA, 0-0 BFC), who on Thursday meets Edson Berto (16-10-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) at Bellator 94, this past summer told MMAjunkie.com about his plan to fight at featherweight and lightweight to make himself more attractive to the UFC.

Missing weight, though, is never attractive to big promotions, and Carvalho recognizes the need to make a good impression out of the gate.

“I’m on a two-year contract,” he said. “This fight now is highly important. Depending on the result, I might gain a spot on the next lightweight tournament. It’s an opportunity that I don’t want to let pass.

“I’ve trained as much as I could so I can move up the Bellator rankings. I don’t wish to merely participate. My goal is to be the lightweight champion.”

Bellator 94 takes place at USF Sun Dome. The event’s main card airs live on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com, which carries Carvalho vs. Berto.

Carvalho left his first chosen sport of muay Thai to pursue a career in MMA, and he’s 8-2 as a professional. He joins dozens of top lightweights who hope to compete in Bellator’s next tournament, which could take place this summer.

Carvalho already has brushed shoulders with the world’s biggest fight promotion. He said he passed tryouts for the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” but the show’s producers decided last minute to recruit talent from the welterweight division.

Now comes another opportunity to gain the kind of exposure he needs to take his career to the next level.

“I see this as the greatest opportunity in my career,” he said. “I going there to dominate. I’ve talked the talk. Now I’m going to walk the walk. I want to be the champ. I want to show the world that I’m No. 1 in my weight class.

“I’ve matured a lot as a fighter since last year. I’m better prepared for greater challenges. I’m more serious now. I don’t party. I just train and go home.”

For more on Bellator 94, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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