Since taking over as Bellator’s president in 2014, Strikeforce founder Scott Coker has pushed to expand the company by adding kickboxing to the sports they promote, as well as expanding the promotion’s reach internationally.
On Saturday, Bellator will hold its first event in Torino, Italy, headlined by the company’s new kickboxing venture, which will feature multi-sport fighter Melvin Manhoef in the evening’s main event.
For Manhoef, returning to kickboxing after spending recent times focusing on MMA, came as an opportunity to help his promotion as much as his own career.
“I told people I wanted to focus on MMA, but this is a moment, this is something big and I want to be part of it,” Manhoef told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s nice that Bellator people are bringing people out to showcase the skills they have. As huge as Bellator is, it’s a bright future for kickboxing in America I think.
“It is good for me because I focused just on my kickboxing (again) and my stand-up is getting (better). We’re putting the dots on the ‘i’. For my next (MMA) fight I’ll be sharper with my stand-up again.”
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When asked if he feels pressure being the main event for Bellator’s first kickboxing and international show, Manhoef said, “I don’t know if I’m the headliner. I just think it is a fight. I don’t think about the things around it.
“I have to do my thing and what I’m best at doing. That’s what I’m going to do. I have no pressure. I want to help Bellator have a great show on this first event and that’s what I have to do; it’s my job.”
In Torino, Manhoef will ….View full article