Corey Anderson’s debut Bellator couldn’t have been more perfect.
Anderson defeated combat sports veteran Melvin Manhoef via TKO at 2:34 of the second inning during the Bellator 251 main event on Thursday night. The card takes place against a bubble at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Anderson, one of the world’s top 205-pound boxers, unexpectedly signed for Bellator in August after asking and being allowed to leave the UFC. After his first win, Anderson said he wanted to be considered on the Bellator lightweight belt competition. Vadim Nemkov is the defending champion.
“Whoever has that strap, come see me,” Anderson said in the post-war interview.
Anderson defeated Manhoef to start the second half, taking the top spot and pouring down punches and elbows. In the end, Manhoef was a bloody mess and referee Todd Anderson had to step in to stop.
The war was marked by Anderson̵7;s overwhelming end to end. He knocked out Manhoef twice in the first half and got hammer-like blows. Anderson beat Manhoef 54-1, every broadcast.
Anderson (14-5) was the one who benefited from an introductory match in his Bellator debut. The 31-year-old Illinois player is promoted as one of the best British boxers on the list.
Before joining Bellator, he won a challenge for the UFC light heavyweight belt but lost to Jan Blachowicz through a knockout in February. Blachowicz won the UFC title vacated by Jon Jones by beating Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 in September. ESPN has Anderson ranked 5th in the world for light, heavy duty.
Manhoef (32-15-1, 2 NC) has won two consecutive wins. Thursday marks the 50th MMA match of the career of seasoned Dutch MMA fighter and kickboxer. Manhoef, however, is 44 years old and has had no victory over his elite opponents for about five years.
On the card under Bellator 251, former emerging amateur wrestler Tyrell Fortune beat Said Sowma through unanimous decision and Austin Vanderford, husband of MMA star Paige VanZant, beat Vinicius de Jesus by unanimous decision.