In a light heavyweight bout on the main card, Melvin Manhoef and Corey Anderson meet at Bellator 251 Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card is set for 7 p.m. ET. Below we make our picks and predictions for Manhoef-Anderson.
Manhoef (32-15-1) heads into the octagon on a two-fight win streak, including a first-round TKO over Yannick Bahati at Bellator 230 Oct. 12, 2019. Since arriving at the Bellator promotion, he has won four fights, three by KO/TKO, while losing a pair of title fights against Rafael Carvalho, with a KO/TKO loss to Joe Schilling also during the span. Only two of his eight fights at the Bellator level have ended up going the distance. In his 48 professional fights, he has had 24 end via KO/TKO, going 29-5. The submission isn’t in his potential game plan, as he is 0-7 via submission over his career.
Anderson (13-5) will make his Bellator debut after a six-year run at the UFC. He posted a 10-5 run at the UFC, but he lost via first-round knockout to Jan Blachowicz in Rio Rancho, N.M. in the main event on Feb. 15, 2020, in his final fight with that promotion. Each of his past two fights, and five of his past eight UFC bouts, ended via KO/TKO, with just three bouts going the distance during the stretch.
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Melvin Manhoef vs. Corey Anderson betting odds and prediction
Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 5:45 p.m. ET.
MANHOEF (+450) is worth a look as a rather heavy underdog against the Bellator newcomer Anderson (-715), although he is certainly an experienced fighter. Anderson will tower over Manhoef by seven inches, so it will look like a physical mismatch. Manhoef is 13 years older than his counterpart, but he has tremendous knockout power, and that punching power will offset the age difference as he looks for the big shot.
After Anderson’s loss to Blachowicz, he suffered a blackout during a hunting trip, spending several days in the hospital. It’s nearly nine months since his last bout, and we might see a little trepidation, as well as a little bit of rust. Anderson is also susceptible to the knockout, as his defense isn’t great. He is best known for his work on the mat, so Manhoef will look to keep this fight upright. If he does that, Anderson is in trouble in his Bellator debut.
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