Bellator middleweight Melvin Manhoef made his promotional debut in devastating fashion in September with a first-round knockout win over Doug Marshall. Less than a month separated from that fight, he’s already back facing veteran kickboxer Joe Schilling.

Schilling’s last professional mixed martial arts fight was in 2008, with the American focusing more on his successful kickboxing career. When asked about what he worked on to prepare for the fighter they call “Stich ‘em Up” Manhoef told The MMA Corner, “Nothing special as I think that the stand up between Joe and me is similar.”

“I think it’s going to be stand-up fight, I don’t think he’s going to shoot on me, so I didn’t worry about my wrestling this fight, it was more standing up for me,” Manhoef described. “It’s going to be like a K1 fight with small gloves in the cage.”

The nickname for Schilling comes from his deadly use of elbows while in close range, but that doesn’t intimidate Manhoef, “About the elbows, I don’t mind so much because I think in every fight, it’s different with how you can do it with the Muay Thai. I trained it and we will see what’s going to happen. I’m prepared for it.”

Newly crowned Bellator middleweight champion Brandon Halsey is 8-0 in his professional career and steamrolled through former champion Alexander Shlemenko in their title fight at Bellator 126. When asked if a fight with Halsey is what he’d want if he gets past Schilling, Manhoef couldn’t resist the temptation.

“Yeah of course after Schilling, I want Halsey. I have to focus myself first on the Schilling fight. I think that is the for the best because Schilling is a good athlete. Afterwards, I’m going to focus on the championship and to be the champion of Bellator. I saw Halsey and I think he is a strong, solid fighter with good wrestling. It’s going to be hard, so I have to prepare myself pretty good for him. I don’t know when it’s going to be, but I’ll need to have a good training camp.”

With his second fight under the Bellator banner, Manhoef had nothing but positive things to say about Scott Coker, the company’s president that brought him in, “He’s bringing in another dimension of MMA because what he is going to do is only bring in fights that people want to see.”

Bellator 131, which is headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar, features a lightweight championship fight with interim champion Will Brooks and former champion Michael Chander. Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling are also featured on the main card, which takes place Saturday, November 15th from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California and airs on SPIKE TV.

About The Author

Blane Ferguson
Associate Editor/Senior Staff Writer

Blane can trace his MMA roots, like many others, to the finale of the first Ultimate Fighter season between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. After watching that incredible fight and cleaning the local Blockbuster of any recorded UFC pay-per-views they had, Blane was hooked on watching the sport and he carried that passion with him to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Blane is a four-year broadcasting veteran of ASU's campus radio including a founder and co-host of the station's combat sports show, The Final Round.