Melvin Manhoef's Bellator debut will be against another heavy hitter. | Photo: Piotr Pedziszewski/Sherdog.com
Melvin Manhoef will be welcomed to Bellator MMA by Doug Marshall in a middleweight contest on Sept. 19 in Fresno, Calif.
Bellator officials Tuesday announced the main event of Bellator 125, along with the rest of the four-fight main card that will air on Spike TV. The event will take place at the 16,182-seat Save Mart Center.
For Manhoef, the bout will serve as his first MMA fight on American soil since 2011. The 38-year-old Dutchman has racked up a 28-11 professional record, with 26 knockouts during his nearly 20 year career. The former Cage Rage 205-pound champion also has an impressive kickboxing mark of 37-12.
Marshall will be looking to bounce back from a technical knockout loss to Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 109 last November. The defeat was the first “The Rhino” has suffered under the Bellator banner, with prior victories over Kala Hose, Andreas Spang, Sultan Aliev and Brett Cooper.
“This fight is like a dream come true,” Marshall stated in a press release. “Two heavy hitters going for broke. It’s a classic don’t blink fight. Bet the house someone is going to sleep before the first round is over. And to be able to have this type of fight in front of all my friends and family that I grew up with makes it that much sweeter.”
Also announced for the Sept. 19 main card was another middleweight contest featuring Brian Rogers against James Irvin. Featherweights Goiti Yamauchi and Martin Stapleton will square off, while the opening contest will be a heavyweight tilt between Raphael Butler and Javy Ayala.