There was no need for overtime in Corey Anderson’s Bellator debut as he manhandled Melvin Manhoef en route to a bloody, second-round TKO at Bellator 251.
Aided by a noticeable size advantage, Anderson exploited longtime kickboxer Manhoef’s most obvious deficit with takedowns. Once on the canvas, he held half-guard and pounded away with vicious elbows and punches until referee Todd Anderson had seen enough and stopped the action at the 2:34 mark of the second round.
“[My coach] Nick Catone told me one more takedown,” Anderson said afterward at the Fight Sphere at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. “[Coach] Mark Henry said, ‘Do the drama.’ That’s our code. That means go, let loose. Finish him.”
Manhoef, looking more like a beefy middleweight than a true light heavyweight, whiffed on the few punches he got off. Although he was able to pull off a nice sweep in the first round and fought off a late-frame takedown, Anderson gave him no time to work in his preferred range.
Anderson, who was on the cusp of a UFC title shot before a KO loss to current champ Jan Blachowicz, gets back in the win column after his high-profile setback. He’s aiming high in his next Bellator outing, targeting top contender Phil Davis or champ Vadim Nemkov.
“Whoever’s fighting for the title, I want the winner,” Anderson said. “Whoever’s got that strap, come see me.”