Bellator 125 takes place Sept. 19 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The main card airs on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.
“This fight is like a dream come true,” Marshall stated. “Two heavy hitters going for broke. It’s a classic don’t-blink fight. Bet the house someone is going to sleep before the first round is over. And to be able to have this type of fight in front of all my friends and family that I grew up with makes it that much sweeter.”
Marshall, a 37-year-old Californian and former WEC champ, was riding a four-fight winning streak with Bellator before a tournament-final loss to Alexander Shlemenko in November. The fighter, who owns 12 knockouts in 18 career wins, subsequently received a suspension after testing positive for an undisclosed banned substance (the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission didn’t release any further details).
He now takes on Manhoef, a big-show vet who’s competed with organizations such as Strikeforce, DREAM and ONE FC who now makes his Bellator debut. The 38-year-old Surinamese-Dutch kickboxer, who’s registered 26 knockouts in 28 career wins, most recently halted a two-fight skid with a 46-second TKO of Evangelista Santos in Brazil.
Co-headlining the card is a middleweight bout between fellow sluggers James Irvin (17-10 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a UFC vet and Bellator newcomer, and Brian Rogers (11-6 MMA, 4-4 BMMA), who recently posted a flying-knee knockout of Adrian Miles at Bellator 119.
Rounding out the main card are featherweights Martin Stapleton (13-3 MMA, 0-2 BMMA) vs.Goiti Yamauchi (17-2 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) and heavyweights Javy Ayala (7-3 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) vs.Raphael Butler (8-0-1 MMA, 3-0-1 BMMA).
The latest Bellator 125 card includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET)
- Melvin Manhoef vs. Doug Marshall
- James Irvin vs. Brian Rogers
- Martin Stapleton vs. Goiti Yamauchi
- Javy Ayala vs. Raphael Butler