FRESNO, Calif. -- "The Storm" came and blew Melvin Manhoef down.
Alexander Shlemenko knocked out Manhoef in highlight-reel fashion with his trademark spinning backfist at 1:25 of the second round in the Bellator 133 main event Friday night here at the Save Mart Center.
The former Bellator middleweight champion attempted the technique multiple times in the first round, but didn't land. The one that did put Manhoef into a slow fall. Shlemenko followed up with a punch on the ground and referee John McCarthy stopped the fight.
Afterward, Shlemenko asked for a title shot against Brandon Halsey in an interview with color man Jimmy Smith.
"I want my belt back," the Russian said in English. "This is my belt."
Shlemenko (52-9) dropped the title last September. This was his return to Bellator after winning a bout in Moscow in December. Before the Halsey loss, the 30-year-old was submitted by Tito Ortiz in May 2014.
Manhoef (29-12-1, 1 NC) was coming off a knockout loss to Joe Schilling in November. The 38-year-old, who said he was hunting for a middleweight title shot before facing Shlemenko, has now lost four of his last six bouts.
Daniel Weichel should have gotten a title shot after winning the Bellator season 10 featherweight tournament. Now, after the tournament format was scrapped under the promotion's regime, he has made another bid. Weichel beat former champ Pat Curran (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in the co-main event. Bellator president Scott Coker has said Georgi Karakhanyan will get the next title shot against Patricio Freire, but Weichel could make a pretty good case.
Weichel (35-8), a Germany native, seemed to be the better striker throughout the fight despite his pedigree as a submission specialist. Curran (20-7) got a takedown in the second that probably earned him that round, but Weichel, 30, was more active for most of the bout.
Curran, 27, has now lost two straight after losing the belt to Freire last September. Overall, he has lost three of four.
Also on the main card, Julia Budd completely dominated Gabrielle Holloway by unanimous decision with a lopsided scorecard (30-26, 30-25, 30-24). Budd (7-2) is a cornerstone of Bellator's women's featherweight division, which Coker is trying to build up. Holloway filled in on two weeks notice for Talita Nogueira, who had to withdraw due to a knee injury.
Welterweight prospect Chris Honeycutt ran through previously the undefeated Clayton McFarlane in the main card opener, winning via TKO at 4:16 of the third round. Honeycutt (6-0) used his top-notch wrestling to control where the fight took place. The 26-year-old, who trains at Dethrone Base Camp Fresno with Josh Koscheck, continued the promising start to his career.