Melvin Manhoef retires an underrated legend

Melvin Manhoef left Bellator 285 a star.

There was a time in the world, a time before streaming, when very few knew who an MMA fighter was unless they were fighting for the UFC or a promotion like Strikeforce. It was as difficult to see promotions in the states that weren’t on national television or on pay-per-view in the US as the UFC was. Even promotions like PRIDE FC were hard to watch. Names and legends that thrived outside the UFC umbrella were often only known to the most hardcore fans. One of those names whose career ended at Bellator 285 was Melvin Manhoef.

Manhoef couldn’t get the win, being KO’d by Yoel Romero to end his final fight with Bellator. Romero was in control for most of the fight and finally took Manhoef to the ground in the third where Romero fired several devastating elbow and forearm shots to knock Manhoef unconscious.

After the fight, the two men exchanged a few words and hugged. After the fight, Manhoef, still recovering a little from the knockout, announced he was done and would be retiring.

I wanted to fight names and did my best. …Today I think that after 28 years of fighting I have to hang up my gloves … You make me feel alive.

After the fight, his family gave him a hug after he removed his gloves for the last time as the crowd cheered the final performance of an MMA legend.

Melvin Manhoef was a man few people wanted to face

Before arriving at Bellator, Manhoef first made his mark in Japan, where he competed in two K-1 events and several DREAM events. His quick-witted, hard-hitting style made him a must-watch on television for those who could find the events outside of Japan.

He’s so prolific when it comes to his knockouts that Manhoef has described himself as a “knockout junkie.”

He scored 29 knockouts from 32 fights, 26 of which ended in the first round. He scored big wins over Cyborg Santos, Mark Hunt, Kazushi Sakuraba and Ryo Kawamura. In his losses, he seemed to only lose to the best of the best with the likes of Gegard Mousasi, Robbie Lawler, Rafael Carvalho and Corey Anderson was one of the few names to defeat him.

While championship success was limited, he once won the Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Championship and was one of the least desirable draws for any of the three Grands Prix he competed in. Melvin Manhoef retires an underrated legend

John Verrall

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