SAN DIEGO — There was no secret as to why Joe Schilling and Melvin Manhoef agreed to tango at the Valley View Casino Center on Saturday night.
The two kickboxing standouts were expected to bring fireworks to Bellator 131. And fireworks they provided. A huge right hand to the jaw ended an entertaining middleweight slugfest, as Schilling knocked Manhoef cold. The time of the finish was 0:32 of the second round.
At one point in the opening round it didn’t look like Schilling, the Glory standout from Los Angeles, was going to get his arm raised at the end of the fight. Manhoef, despite a height and reach disadvantage, tagged and dropped Schilling with a big right to the ear.
Manhoef, a Holland native who has competed in MMA since 1995, said he didn’t bother training on the ground for this fight, and if that’s the case, it showed. Manhoef wasn’t able to do much with his position against the grounded Schilling. Schilling got back to feet before the end of the round and appeared to regain his composure.
In the second, Schilling grabbed Manhoef in a clinch. Manhoef escaped, created some distance, than came rushing in wildly at Schilling. He managed to connect on a left, but Schilling kept his wits and drilled him with the fight ending right hand, as referee Mike Beltran waved the bout off.
"Preparing for this fight I wanted to train for an MMA fight, not just a kickboxing fight," Schilling said. "I trained in all aspects of the sport. It paid off when I was on the ground. My hard work paid off."
Schilling improved to 2-3 in MMA, scoring his first knockout in the sport. That’s added to his 11 career kickboxing knockouts. Manhoef dropped to 29-12-1 (1 NC).