Corey Anderson’s belter debut couldn’t have been more complete.
Anderson destroyed combat game veteran Melvin Manhoef via TKO at 2:34 of the second round in the Belter 251 main event on Thursday night. The card occurred in a bubble setting at Mohegan Sun in Unsville, Connecticut.
Anderson, one of the world’s top 205-pound fighters, unexpectedly signed with Belker in August after allowing his release from the UFC. After the first win, Anderson discovered that he wanted to be considered in the Bellatore Light Heavyweight title picture. Vadim Nemkov is the defending champion.
“Whoever has that leash, come see me,” Anderson said in his postfight interview.
Anderson took Manhoef down to start the second round, reaching the top spot and raining punches and elbows. By the end, Manhoff was a bloody mess and referee Todd Anderson had to step into it.
The battle was marked by Anderson’s dominion from beginning to end. He took down Manhoef twice in the first round and landed in solid ground and pound attacks. According to Broadcast, Anderson beat Manhoff 54–1.
Anderson (14-5) was the beneficiary of the Showcase Fight in his Bellator debut. The 31-year-old from Illinois comes into the promotion as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the roster.
Prior to joining Belter, he was one win away from challenging for the UFC Light Heavyweight title, but fell to Jan Blachowicz via knockout in February. Blachowicz defeated Dominic Reyes at UFC 253 in September to win the UFC title vacated by John Jones. ESPN ranked Anderson at number 5 in the world in light heavyweight.
Manhoff (32–15–1, 2 NC) recorded two straight wins. Thursday marked the 50th career MMA fight for the well-experienced MMA Fighter and Kickboxer from the Netherlands. Manhoff, however, is 44 years old and has not won in elite competition in nearly five years.
On the Belter 251 undercard, up-and-coming former amateur wrestling stander Fortune defeated Soma via unanimous decision and Austin Vanderford, the husband of MMA star Paige Vanzant, defeated Vinicius de Jesus by unanimous decision.