Yoel Romero crushes Melvin Manhoef in knockout win

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Yoel Romero continues to gain momentum under the Bellator banner.

The multiple-time UFC title challenger defeated Melvin Manhoef in the co-main event of Bellator 285. Romero (15-6 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) put on a dominant display, stopping Manhoef (32-16-1 MMA, 4- 5 BMMA) with brutal ground in the third round of their light heavyweight contest.

Bellator 285 took place on Friday at 3Arena in Dublin. The main card aired on Showtime after the preliminaries on MMA Junkie.

In round one, Romero dropped Manhoef early with a leg kick, then followed him to the ground. From there, the former UFC title challenger controlled the action while landing on the ground. After a few minutes of checking, Romero locked an Americana, but couldn’t finish it. He continued to control Manhoef from the top until the bell.

The second round was much more hitting on base. The two fighters traded at a fairly slow pace, but were still entertaining. They charged a lot in their shots. Romero seemed to get the upper hand on punches and also had more volume. The threat of withdrawal seemed to really hamper Manhoef’s exit.

The third seemed like another standing fight, but three minutes later Romero closed the gap and beat Manhoef against the cage. He remained patient from half guard and landed some big shots. The strikes started piling up and the referee had no choice but to stop the fight. It was a commanding display from Romero.

With the result, Romero is now on a two-fight winning streak since losing his Bellator debut. The Cuban fighter made his debut for the promotion in September last year, losing to former Bellator champion Phil Davis in a split decision. He then followed that performance up with a brutal TKO of Alex Polizzi at Bellator 280 in May before Friday’s return.

Meanwhile, Manhoef finds himself in a position opposed to Romero. Manhoef now has two straight losses, as he was previously finished by Corey Anderson at Bellator 251 in November 2020. The 46-year-old has been fighting professionally in combat sports since the mid-90s. He told MMA Junkie before Bellator 285 that this was the last fight of his Bellator contract and that he was likely to retire. After the fight, Manhoef made his retirement official and left his gloves in the middle of the cage.

Official Bellator 285 results include:

  • Yoel Romero beats. Melvin Manhoef via KO (elbows) – Round 3, 3:34
  • Leah McCourt beats. Dayana Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Pedro Carvalho defeated. Mads Burnell by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-29, 29-28)
  • Ciaran Clarke beats. Rafael Hudson via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 3, 2:50
  • Karl Moore won. Karl Albrektsson via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 2, 3:36
  • Brian Moore won. Arivaldo Lima Silva by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Brett Johns beats. Jordan Winski via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Darragh Kelly defeats. Kye Stevens via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Kane Mousah defeats. Georgi Karakhanyan by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Kenny Mokhonoana defeated. Alex Bodnar via technical submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:42
  • Asael Adjoudj defeated. Jordan Barton via TKO (head kick, punches) – Round 1, 2:39
  • Luca Poclit beats. Dante Schiro via technical submission (arm-triangle modified) – Round 2, 4:31

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s Event Center for Bellator 285.


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