A classic middleweight slugfest is likely in store for fight fans when it comes to the main event of Bellator 125. The organization has announced that veteran knockout artists Melvin Manhoef and Doug Marshall are scheduled to meet Sept. 19 in Fresno, Calif. in the headlining bout. Both men have highly aggressive styles and have tremendous finishing abilities.
Manhoef will be making his promotional debut after signing with Bellator last month following a knockout victory over Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos in their rematch in Brazil at Gringo Super Fight 10. Manhoef has fought for a number of promotions including Strikeforce, Dream and One FC. “No Mercy” has 26 knockouts in his 28 career victories including an 18-second KO win over the granite-jawed Mark Hunt. Manhoef has also faced the likes of Tim Kennedy, Robbie Lawler and Gegard Mousasi during his lengthy career.
The former Cage Rage light heavyweight champion has also had a highly successful kickboxing career in the K-1 promotion that has included another 27 stoppage victories. Manhoef has devastating one-punch knockout power and continues to actively compete in both disciplines.
Marshall will be looking to rebound after having his four-fight win streak snapped in a failed middleweight title bid at Bellator 109 against Alexander Shlemenko. He was stopped in the first round by the champion and was later fined and suspended by the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission because of a failed drug test.
The former WEC light heavyweight champion also has plenty of firepower at his disposal, as 12 of Marshall’s 18 career victories have come by knockout. “The Rhino” has gone 4-1 under the Bellator banner including wins over former title challenger Brett Cooper, Sultan Aliev, Andreas Spang and Kala Hose.
This one will be a highly entertaining clash for as long as it lasts. Manhoef vs. Marshall is definitely the type of matchup that looms as an epic brawl as both men go for broke from the start. With nearly 40 combined knockouts between them, it shapes up as an explosive encounter that has very little chance of going the distance.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports