Hisaki Kato is a rising star in Bellator MMA. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
A potential striker’s delight has been tabbed to headline Bellator 146, as Hisaki Kato will lock horns with Melvin Manhoef in a middleweight duel.
Promotion officials announced the contest on Tuesday. Bellator 146 will take place on Nov. 20 at Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Okla. The evening’s main card will air on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while the preliminary draw streams on Spike.com beginning at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT.
Kato debuted in spectacular fashion at Bellator 139, as he stopped Joe Schilling with a second-round Superman punch, a finish that ranks among the best knockouts of 2015. Shortly thereafter, Bellator announced that it had inked the Japanese star to an exclusive, multi-fight deal. All five of Kato’s triumphs have ended via KO or TKO.
Manhoef, meanwhile, returns to action for the first time since suffering a spinning-back fist KO defeat to Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 133 on Feb. 13. While that loss was later overturned to a no contest after Shlemenko failed a drug test, it was the second straight brutal stoppage loss for Manhoef, who was also knocked out by Schilling at Bellator 131 on Nov. 15. “No Mercy” received a six-month suspension from the California State Athletic Commission following the Shlemenko bout.