Kickboxing royalty Mark Hunt and Melvin Manhoef were both successful in MMA bouts as they finished off Roy Nelson and Doug Marshall respectively.
Mark Hunt’s unlikely career resurgence continues, as the 40-year old became only the second fighter to knockout the notoriously durable Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson. The bout headlined UFC’s third trip to Japan since the Zuffa takeover and was a seemingly logical match-up of fan favorites.
The bout was relatively even throughout the first round, as both battled to establish dominance over the other with both fighters scoring with occasional punches and a few thudding low kicks from the former K-1 champion Hunt. Nelson was unsuccessful in two attempts at bringing the fight to the mat in the first as he likely lost a very close first round to the New Zealand native.
At the start of the second round Nelson was finally able to secure a takedown and briefly took Hunt’s back however Hunt was able to escape back to his feet shortly after. The two continued to trade on the feet as the momentum began to swing in Hunt’s favor whilst Nelson began to show signs of fatigue. With two minutes left on the clock, Hunt crumbled Nelson with a monstrous uppercut followed by his typical walk-off celebration.
With the victory Hunt moves to (5-2-1) in the UFC and could see himself enter the UFC’s top 5 rankings for the very first time (currently ranked #6), whilst after being stopped for the first time in nearly six years, Nelson falls to (7-6) in the octagon.
Melvin Manhoef, who coincidently was the first man to knockout Mark Hunt, made quick work of former Bellator title challenger Doug ‘The Rhino” Marshall in the Bellator 125 main event from Fresno, California. After a brief feeling out period both fighters began swinging wildly before an inadvertent shot to the groin of Marshall halted the bout temporarily. After the restart the two went back at it, throwing an assortment of haymakers and kicks to no avail. However after stinging Marshall with several low-kicks, Manhoef flattened his foe with a quick overhand right that sent Marshall face-first into the mat in dramatic fashion.
Manhoef immediately moves into title contention with his successful Bellator debut and could be in line for a Middleweight title shot against the winner of Alexander Shlemenko vs. Brandon Halsey who clash next Friday in the main event of Bellator 126. Marshall meanwhile drops to 4-2 inside the Bellator cage as he fought for the first time since his unsuccessful title shot against the aforementioned Shlemenko last November, a bout in which he subsequently tested positive for a banned substance post-fight.
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