If this is it for Melvin Manhoef, what a way to finish.
Manhoef, the 43-year-old ageless wonder, was victorious Saturday night, defeating Yannick Bahati by first-round TKO in the Bellator Europe 5 main event at Allianz Cloud in Milan.
As has been the norm, Manhoef entered the bout with plenty working against him. Bahati, 29, was 14 years younger, 6 inches taller and possessed a 7-inch reach advantage.
But none of that mattered once Manhoef (31-14-1 MMA, 4-3 BMMA) threw a hard right hand straight down the pipe. It wasn’t so much that the punch landed flush as it simply landed with enough force while Bahati (9-4 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) threw a kick, catching him off balance and dropping him to the mat. From there, Manhoef initially pounced looking for a finish but quickly aborted and settled down instead.
Once Bahati looked to transition into full guard, that’s when Manhoef let his hands go, landing several hard punches to force the referee stoppage at the 2:29 mark.
It was an impressive performance by Manhoef, especially considering many people believed he was at a disadvantage against Bahati on the ground.
“We knew that he wanted to go to the ground. I know that I’m strong. My defense is good. And I was prepared for this,” Manhoef said. “You know, I can knock people out from standup and on the ground.”
With Manhoef now on a two-fight winning streak after both wins coming this year, the question is whether or not his fighting career is over. All he could say for sure is that this was the last fight on his Bellator conference.
He sounds like a man who wants to keep on fighting.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m gonna look forward, because I feel good. I’m 43 years old, but I still feel good,” Manhoef said. “This thing is like gold for me. But we have to negotiate first, so we’ll see. …
“If I don’t come back, I’ve enjoyed people for a long time. If this is my last fight, to finish like this, I’m very honored for you guys. Thank you for all the support.”
- Bellator Europe 5 live results (5 p.m. ET)
- Bellator Europe 5's Yannick Bahati has no fear of Melvin Manhoef in Milan headliner
- Bellator 230 results via tape delay (9 p.m. ET)
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Bellator Europe 5 results: Melvin Manhoef rolls to first-round finish, ponders future