(No matter how many times his trainers warned him against it, Melvin was convinced that he would become the first person to pull off the Statue of Liberty play in mixed martial arts competition.)
Exciting news today comes compliments of upstart Asian promotion One Fighting Championship. In addition to signing a ten year television partnership with ESPN Star Sports, One FC announced at a press conference this morning that their third event will be headlined by Strikeforce veterans Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Melvin Manhoef squaring off in a light heavyweight contest.
After a successful debut event back in September of 2011, One FC signed a huge partnership deal with over 15 smaller promotions and 23 gyms and announced plans to put on 3 different shows in 3 different countries in 2012. The second show, titled “Battle of Heroes,” will transpire on February 11th from Jakarta, Indonesia, and features a heavyweight tilt between Bob Sapp and Rolles Gracie as well as a headlining lightweight bout pairing Pancrase one-timer Felipe Enomoto against 5-2 K-1 veteran Ole Larson.
One FC 3, which is set to go down on March 31st from the Singapore Indoor Stadium, will also feature Japanese leglock master Masakazu Imanari facing off against undefeated prospect Kevin Belingon, Eduard Folayang, Zorobabel Moreira, and Eddie Ng taking on unnamed opponents, and Singapore’s own Nicole Chua making her MMA debut. It’s nice to see a small promotion gaining some momentum, no?
We last saw Babalu suffer a first round KO loss to Dan Henderson back in their December 2010 rematch; apparently the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion has been recovering over the past year from a brutal snowboarding accident that happened shortly thereafter. Who would’ve guessed? Fun fact: Babalu was the focus of a 2009 music video from Massachusetts based heavy metal kings Shadows Fall.
Manhoef has not fought a MMA match since falling to a first round submission (go figure) at the hands of Tim Kennedy at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson in March of 2011, and has dropped 5 of his last 7 mixed martial arts contests. His luck in the kickboxing world has not been much better; Manhoef last competed just three days ago at It’s Showtime 2012 in Leeuwarden, where he dropped a unanimous decision to 7th ranked heavyweight contender Tyrone Spong. You can find that video after the jump, courtesy of IronForgesIron.