Following 101 or so fights in the kickboxing ring and cage, Melvin Manhoef was performed preventing. A bid to seize the Bellator middleweight title and protect it in his native Holland went south – two times – and a initial-round knockout this earlier Oct felt like a gratifying enough summary to his job.
Then Bellator explained to him about an party planned for Amsterdam, and he agreed to a two-combat agreement extension. He’d just beaten two youthful opponents at gentle heavyweight soon after his title setbacks, so he figured he could adhere all over for a longer period for a swan track at household.
Issues didn’t really perform out as planned – the Amsterdam party is now on indefinite maintain owing to the pandemic. But he gets to combat a high-profile UFC export who’s hunting to confirm a little something and prevent an embarrassing decline in his Bellator debut.
“For me, it’s like a check,” Manhoef told reporters on Tuesday throughout a media working day in aid of Bellator 251, which will take spot Thursday at Mohegan Sunshine Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “I know I can do it. Individuals do not believe so, but I feel I can and my staff. It is a huge combat. I want to shock the world.”
No one particular uncertainties Manhoef’s skill to land devastating punches. The only concern is no matter whether he’s however capable of landing them against top rated competition. At 44, he is regarded similarly for knockout losses as effectively as wins. A battle versus Anderson, a would-be UFC title contender who fell out with the advertising over compensation, is a steep action up from his modern opposition, and it comes at the most strange instant in the sport’s historical past.
But MMA is also a activity where by conventional wisdom is typically flipped on its head and professions abruptly surge as frequently as they fizzle. Manhoef is aware of he’s the underdog, and it may well be his biggest asset.
“This corporation, Bellator, they dealt with me with regard and gave me this possibility,” Manhoef said. “I feel for him, it is likely to be a great deal of tension for him, simply because he wants to enable the environment see that he’s even now Corey Anderson, even while he misplaced his final combat. But I’m not right here for him.”
Manhoef even now plans to battle his retirement struggle in Holland when the pandemic provides purchase back to the globe. He envisions a hero’s welcome from good friends and spouse and children and options to shell out his respects to all the people today that supported him about the a long time.
But first, there is Anderson, a fighter who’s similarly at ease on his feet and on the ground. The latter is the apparent way to defeat an aging fighter with dynamite in his hands.
“I really do not know what he’s heading to do, but it does not issue,” Manhoef explained. “I’m likely to retain the fight standing, and I’m heading to try out to do almost everything to gain this struggle. Most people has strain, but for Corey, it’s far more, due to the fact he ought to be quite easy [to win], individuals say.
“We’re heading to see what is heading to transpire. For me, it’s at ease. If I win, it’s good. If I shed, men and women are going to say, ‘He’s outdated.’ It’s constantly like this. I only believe about what I have to do in this struggle.”
It is a gamble to keep heading. But Manhoef stated more mature fighters are responsible for their individual bodies and ought to be the ones to decide when they give up. There is a explanation he’s been battling so long.
“I experienced so substantially fun in this sport,” he said. “That’s why I always obtained motivated to be the very best. The purpose that you have to attain something and you’re on your own. This is the matter that drives me, and I assume the travel that is saved me in this game. I seriously reside for this sh*t.”